According to new evidence, the lost Mars lander may have 'exploded' on impact.
Wednesday was to mark the landing of Mars probe, Schiaparelli, which is part of the joint European and Russian ExoMars 2016 mission. However, the spacecraft was lost moments before touchdown, reports the BBC.
On Friday, NASA announced that one of its orbiters may have spotted Schiaparelli and based on evidence, it is believed to have crash landed.
The agency noted in a press release, "NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has identified new markings on the surface of the Red Planet that are believed to be related to Europe's Schiaparelli test lander, which arrived at Mars on Oct. 19."
NASA added, "The new image shows a bright spot that may be Schiaparelli's parachute, and a larger dark spot interpreted as resulting from the impact of the lander itself following a much longer free fall than planned, after thrusters switched off prematurely."
In the days ahead, researchers from the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA will analyze the images to gather more information about the lander.
According to the ESA, "Estimates are that Schiaparelli dropped from a height of between 2 and 4 kilometres [1.24-2.48 miles], therefore impacting at a considerable speed, greater than 300 km/h [186.4 miles/hour]. The relatively large size of the feature would then arise from disturbed surface material. It is also possible that the lander exploded on impact, as its thruster propellant tanks were likely still full. These preliminary interpretations will be refined following further analysis."