European Space Agency’s Schiaparelli enters Mars’ atmosphere, Trace Gas Orbiter near planet

Italian Space Agency President Roberto Battiston talks to journalists in front of a rendering of the Schiaparelli Space Module and of the planet Mars is displayed on a movie screen, during an event on the occasion of the insertion of the Trace Gas Orbiter into orbit around Mars, and landing of the Schiaparelli module on the surface of the planet, in Rome, Friday, Oct. 19, 2016. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

BERLIN (AP) – The European Space Agency says its experimental probe has entered the atmosphere of Mars but it doesn’t yet have confirmation that the craft touched down.

Don McCoy, the ExoMars project manager, said some data had been received from the Schiaparelli lander confirming its entry on Wednesday and the deployment of its parachute – but it was too early to say more about the state of the lander at this stage.

At the same time, ESA put Schiaparelli’s mother ship, the Trace Gas Orbiter, into orbit around the red planet.

Landing a spacecraft on Mars is notoriously difficult and several past missions have failed, including the European Space Agency’s previous attempt in 2003 with the rover Beagle 2. It made it to Mars but its solar panels didn’t unfold properly.


The following video was posted by the European Space Agency on its YouTube page:

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