Schiaparelli crash site in colour

Schiaparelli crash site in colour
Composite of the ExoMars Schiaparelli module elements seen by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) on 1 November 2016. Both the main impact site (top) and the region with the parachute and rear heatshield (bottom left) are now captured in the central portion of the HiRISE imaging swath that is imaged through three different filters, enabling a colour image to be constructed. The front heatshield (bottom right) lies outside the central colour imaging swath. The colours have been graded according to the specific region to best reveal the contrast of features against the martian background. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

New high-resolution images taken by a NASA orbiter show parts of the ExoMars Schiaparelli module and its landing site in colour on the Red Planet.

Schiaparelli arrived in the Meridiani Planum region on Mars on 19 October, while its mothership began orbiting the planet. The Trace Gas orbiter will make its first science observations during two of its highly elliptical circuits around Mars – corresponding to eight days – starting on 20 November, including taking its first images of the planet since arriving.

The new image of Schiaparelli and its hardware components was taken by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, or MRO, on 1 November. The main impact site is now captured in the central portion of the swath that is imaged by the high-resolution camera through three filters, enabling a colour image to be constructed.

In addition, the image of 1 November was taken looking slightly to the west, while the earlier image was looking to the east, providing a contrasting viewing geometry.

Indeed, the latest image set sheds new light on some of the details that could only be speculated from the first look last week.

For example, a number of the bright white spots around the dark region interpreted as the impact site are confirmed as real objects – they are not likely to be imaging 'noise' – and therefore are most likely fragments of Schiaparelli.

Interestingly, a bright feature can just be made out in the place where the dark crater was identified in last week's image. This may be associated with the module, but the images so far are not conclusive.

Schiaparelli crash site in colour
A comparison of the 25 October image taken by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter HiRISE camera with that taken on 1 November. In the week that elapsed, the outline of Schiaparelli’s parachute on the martian surface has apparently changed, which is interpreted as movement due to local wind. The parachute has a maximum diameter of 12 m, and it is attached to the rear heatshield, which measures about 2.4 m across. Aside from the obvious difference of the 1 November being in colour, the images have slightly different projections: in the colour image north is about 7º west of straight up. In addition, the 25 October image was looking to the east, while the 1 November image was taken looking slightly to the west. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

A bright fuzzy patch revealed in the colour image alongside the dark streaks to the west of the crater could be surface material disturbed in the impact or from a subsequent explosion or explosive decompression of the module's fuel tanks, for example.

About 0.9 km to the south, the parachute and rear heatshield have also now been imaged in colour. In the time that has elapsed since the last image was taken on 25 October, the outline of the parachute has changed. The most logical explanation is that it has been shifted in the wind, in this case slightly to the west. This phenomenon was also observed by MRO in images of the parachute used by NASA's Curiosity rover.

A stereo reconstruction of this image in the future will also help to confirm the orientation of the rear heatshield. The pattern of bright and dark patches suggest it is sitting such that we see the outside of the heatshield and the signature of the way in which the external layer of insulation has burned away in some parts and not others – as expected.

Finally, the front heatshield has been imaged again in black and white – its location falls outside of the colour region imaged by MRO – and shows no changes. Because of the different viewing geometry between the two image sets, this confirms that the bright spots are not specular reflections, and must therefore be related to the intrinsic brightness of the object. That is, it is most likely the bright multilayer thermal insulation that covers the inside of the front heatshield, as suggested last week.

Further imaging is planned in about two weeks, and it will be interesting to see if any further changes are noticed.

The images may provide more pieces of the puzzle as to what happened to Schiaparelli as it approached the martian surface.

Following its successful atmospheric entry and subsequent slowing due to heatshield and parachute deceleration, the internal investigation into the root cause of the problems encountered by Schiaparelli in the latter stages of its six-minute descent continues. An independent inquiry board has been initiated.

Explore further

Detailed images of Schiaparelli and its descent hardware on Mars

Citation: Schiaparelli crash site in colour (2016, November 4) retrieved 18 June 2019 from
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Nov 04, 2016
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Nov 05, 2016
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Nov 05, 2016
Sorry, post set before I got notice of post removal, I did use the quotes showing it was from another line, but about the exact same subject, the Schiaparelli impact and my studied interpretation of it, knowing something of the tech involved and the physics which would be yielded in such situations. I would not consider this Cross Posting, as if I was posting from a different subject post, but continuing the conversation within the same line, after all, YOU folks do make 'Updates' reposting mostly the same as you had before.

However, my apologies if I had crossed an invisible, semi-permeable line.

Nov 05, 2016
"However, my apologies if I had crossed an invisible, semi-permeable line."

Thank you for the discussion. It seems only NASA has landed probes on Mars successfully. They have done several. Why don't others use the same techniques and procedures or hire a former NASA overseer?

I do not know what is up with the moderators, and this post will be removed, as well. Others, with nasty and personal attacks will remain. You tell me what is going on.

Nov 05, 2016
You tell me what is going on.
We can't tell you that Cher, you are not cleared for that information.

Nov 05, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.

Nov 06, 2016
We can't tell you that Cher, you are not cleared for that information

Ah...Paranoia complex.

"Why does the chickenbot cross the travel-tube?"
"This punch-line is not available at your security clearance, citizen."

Nov 06, 2016
I love it when the stay-at-home patriots want to use official language of those who actually served but which they do not understand.

Do you think they really talk like that on riverboats?

Nov 08, 2016
Alas we may learn something from failure as well as success and that's the beauty of science. Now that we have crashed this thing on Mars what questions might we ask?

Nov 08, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.

Nov 08, 2016
The 50/50 way of learning is not science, but random evolution
that didn't take long
decided to skip using yet another existing sock army name to disguise yourself?

and it isn't 50/50 learning

the application is not as easy as slapping on a parachute - Martian atmosphere is right at that thin/thick line making it hard and requiring retro's and parachutes (you can see more about that by watching Dr. Matt Golombek here: )

application of the science isn't the same as speculation about science

- this is also why you keep getting banhammered, BTW, because your speculations fail due to the application of science
that and your speculations tend to blatantly ignore these failures and the falsification of your aether beliefs

Nov 09, 2016
"this is also why you keep getting banhammered,"


He gets hammered because of you snipers.

You have nothing good to say, only hate and dirty acronyms.

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