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ESA releases first color photos of the EXOMARS crash site

It appears to confirm suspicions of the lander's impact fragmentation.
Andrew Tarantola, @terrortola
November 4, 2016
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The ESA's EXOMARS Schiaparelli lander crashed into the Red Planet's crust at more than 300 kph on October 19th, marking not only the end of its mission but also the surface itself. NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) spotted the impact site quickly afterward but it wasn't until this week that its orbit brought the MRO back around. Using its High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera, the MRO snapped the shot you see above.

It's the first color photograph retrieved from the Schiaparelli crash site. It appears to confirm that the bright spots around the central impact are indeed fragments of the landing craft. The image also suggests that the lander's parachute, which landed nearly a mile away, has shifted its position since the last flyover thanks to the Martian winds.

The ESA estimates that its investigation should be concluded by the end of November. The other half of the EXOMARS mission, the Trace Gas Orbiter, will continue its mission until at least 2022. Despite this setback, the ESA plans to launch another mission to Mars in 2020, working in conjunction with Russia's space agency.

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