Failure of ExoMars lander will pave the way for the next mission.
Article by Nature.com
Landing a space probe on another planet could never be described as routine, but the mood at the European Space Agency (ESA) ahead of its Mars-landing attempt last week did seem unusually calm. Despite the mission being explicitly labelled a test of Europe’s ability to master some complex technologies (or perhaps because it was only a test), there was little of the anxiety that often accompanies a Mars touchdown. Perhaps this confidence permeated through to the lander, which, after letting go of its parachute, seems to have mistakenly believed it was safe on the ground, and turned off its braking thrusters with at least 2 kilometres to go.
As Nature went to press, space-agency officials remained reluctant to say the probe had crashed. But it seems safe to say that a glitch in a sensor or computer meant that Schiaparelli covered the remaining distance somewhat quicker than expected, and arrived with the velocity of a bullet train. Indeed, NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has spotted what seems to be a 15-metre-by-40-metre impact zone.
Read more at: nature.com