Oct 22, 2016 06:30 PM EDT

European Space Agency Mars probe destroyed after plunging to surface

The European Space Agency announced that their probe sent to land on Mars has been destroyed after plunging to the surface of the red planet as confirmed by images taken by the NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

The Schiaparelli probe, built by the European ExoMars program to land on the surface of Mars to search for life that exists or might have existed on Mars. Built in Italy, it was supposed to try the technology for soft landing on Mars' surface.  

The vehicle lost contact with mission control 50 seconds before its planned soft landing. ExoMars Flight Director Michel Denis believed that the probe hit the ground at a much higher velocity that what it was designed for.

Based on data gathered before the probe lost contact, ESA figured that, although the parachute and rocket booster engine functioned, the time left for the engine to slow down the speed of the probe was not enough for a soft landing.

Later images with high resolution planned to be taken by the Nasa Orbiter cameras might shed light on the cause of the probe's destruction on its fast descent on Mars. The low resolution images taken by the orbiter show the opened parachute on Mar's surface and the probe about one kilometer north of the chute.

Another European vehicle, British-made Beagle 2 also failed to land on Mars in 2003. ESA said that the ExoMars mission was still a success since the mother ship has started its perpetual orbit around the planet where it will analyze gases on the Martian atmosphere and serve as a base station for future lunar surface landings.  

The distance of Mars from Earth, around 35 million miles, pose a big challenge for NASA and ESA in building probes or vehicles that can land softly on the Martian surface. 

The day will come when men will be able to land and live on Mars despite its harsh environment. 

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