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This Oct. 25, 2016 image annotated and provided by NASA shows the area where the European Space Agency's Schiaparelli test lander reached the surface of Mars, with magnified insets of three sites where components of the spacecraft hit the ground. The image was captured by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. ESA lost communication with Schiaparelli shortly before the probe was supposed to touch down on Oct. 19. (NASA via AP)

New pictures of the Mars lander crash site show an unexplained black arc


The European Space Agency's Schiaparelli Mars lander crashed into Mars last week after a malfunction on its descent into the red planet's atmosphere, hitting the surface at around 180 mph, announced officials on Thursday. 

Thankfully, the HiRISE camera aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter took crystal-clear photos of the crash site. 

This annotated Oct. 20, 2016 image made available by NASA shows a spot, indicated by a rectangular box, that likely appeared in connection with the Oct. 19, 2016 Mars arrival of the European Space Agency's Schiaparelli test lander. On Friday, Oct. 21, 2016, the ESA said their experimental Mars probe hit the right spot — but at the wrong speed — and may have ended up in a fiery ball of rocket fuel when it struck the surface. This view was captured by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. (NASA via AP)

Something went wrong in the lander initial descent onto Mars and its landing parachute deployed at a higher-than-planned altitude. 

The circular crash site measures about 7.9 feet across and 1.5 feet deep. Surrounding the crater are dark spots and radial patterns. 

The European Space Agency said those marking might be the result of propellant tanks exploding when the lander crashed into the planet. 

The dark arc that curves away from the impact site have yet to be explained and are still being examined. 

Some on Twitter pointed out how close the lander's team worked, only for it to crash. 


For more, check out the 60 Second Circa. 

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