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Mars lander is getting ready to land on the surface of the planet as it has successfully separated from its spacecraft on Sunday. The actual touchdown of the lander is expected today as it takes three days for it to travel from the spacecraft's location to the surface of the red planet.
The seventh-month-long journey of Schiaparelli, the disc-shaped 577-kilogramme (1,272 lb) Mars lander and Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO), the spacecraft has finally come to the climax. Its goal of testing technologies to make way for Europe's planned first Mars rover is finally coming close to fulfillment.
Paolo Ferri, head of mission operations at ESA said that he is confident enough that the separation was a success on the part of the lander. They did not have an immediate data on the lander's status from the TGO as a problem on the link with the aircraft rose up. The said link was later restored as per the European Space Agency (ESA), The Christian Science Monitor reported.
Both TGO and Schiaparelli were sent to perform different tasks. Schiaparelli was to make way for Mars rover while TGO was to analyze the gas in Mars' atmosphere. It was to specifically measure the presence of methane, a gas produced by living organisms.
The challenging task of landing on Mars which is 35 miles away from the earth is a very challenging task. Both NASA and ESA can testify of having trouble doing so. That is why after many years, Schiaparelli is only the Europe's second attempt to land a craft on Mars.
Beagle 2, Britain's attempt to land on Mars in 2013 failed as it failed to be kept on track as it was descending the red planet's surface. In January 2015, 12 years after it disappeared, Beagle 2 was spotted only three miles away from its landing site, The Reuters reported.