ESA

There’s no ‘Mars curse’ – it’s just very hard to land there

There’s no ‘Mars curse’ – it’s just very hard to land there

Hopes of another successful landing on Mars were dashed last week when the Schiaparelli probe went missing in action during its descent onto the Red Planet.

Pictures released over the weekend from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter appear to show a parachute and a disturbed area of the Martian landscape. Early investigations suggest that the lander’s parachute opened earlier than planned, and caused the lander to plummet to the surface from as high as 4km, possibly exploding on impact.

Rosetta's First Peek at the Comet's Dark Side

Rosetta's First Peek at the Comet's Dark Side

Since its arrival at comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft has been surveying the surface and the environment of this curiously shaped body. But for a long time, a portion of the nucleus -- the dark, cold regions around the comet's south pole -- remained inaccessible to almost all instruments on the spacecraft.