Europe's 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, scientists said Friday.
Europe was poised Tuesday to place a paddling pool-sized lander on Mars and a gas-sniffing craft in its orbit as part of a mission with Russia to scour the Red Planet for signs of life.
European-Russian spacecraft were on course for Mars Monday after crucial deep-space manoeuvres in preparation for a daring mission to find evidence of life on the Red Planet.
UPDATE: Ground controllers re-established full links Sunday with a European-Russian Mars orbiter which worryingly stopped sending status updates after releasing a lander on a three-day trek to the Red Planet's surface.
Europe sent a tiny lander on a three-day, million-kilometre (621,000-mile) trek to the Martian surface Sunday to test-drive technology for a daring mission to scout the Red Planet for evidence of life.
Thirteen years after its first, failed attempt to place a rover on Mars, Europe reaches a crucial stage Sunday in a fresh quest to scour the Red Planet for signs of life, this time with Russia.
This jumble of eroded blocks lies along the distinctive boundary between the Red Planet's southern highlands and the northern lowlands, with remnants of ancient glaciers flowing around them.
SpaceX chief Elon Musk unveiled on Tuesday ambitious plans to establish a Mars colony by sending 100 humans at a time on massive spacecraft, possibly costing as low as $100,000 per person.
A tiny lander despatched to Mars on a trial run had crashed and possibly exploded on the Red Planet, mission control said Friday, confirming Europe's second failed attempt to reach the alien surface.
Mars, the fourth planet from the Sun, has become a veritable graveyard for landers and rovers despatched to its surface from neighbouring Earth.