The European Space Agency Finally Knows Why Schiaparelli Crash Landed On Mars

The details were released in a preliminary conclusion of the ESA’s technical investigation of data Schiaparelli relayed during its descent. 

David Parker, ESA director of human spaceflight and robotic exploration, told the BBC the completed investigation would be released early next year.

“We we will have learned much from Schiaparelli that will directly contribute to the second ExoMars mission being developed with our international partners for launch in 2020,” Parker added.

The ExoMars programme, a collaboration between the ESA and Russia, seeks to find evidence of past or present life on Mars.

Schiaparelli was designed to demonstrate that technology built into the six-wheeled rover which will land on Mars in 2021 is viable. 

While the report found that the lander’s navigation system misinterpreted altitude data, it also showed that several key processes worked. 

The parachute and the heatshield deployed at the right time, working as planned before the miscalculation was made.

ESA engineers are now waiting for approval from Europe’s research ministers before going ahead with the next mission.

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