While the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter seems to be off to a swimming start, the Schiaparelli might have been dead on arrival on Mars.
The great galactic ghoul seems to have struck again.
But in the end, it’s okay. The lander was mostly a dry run for the European Space Agency and Roscosmo’s 2020 mission to Mars, and was only intended to last a few days while testing atmospheric instruments. Still, it’s a setback for both space agencies after a seemingly normal descent from the craft, which was launched in March.
There’s still a possibility that ESA can re-establish contact with the craft, though it’s considered unlikely at this point. It’s not, of yet, known what might’ve happened to the craft on landing, which involved a combination of parachutes and thrusters to get it through the thin martian atmosphere.