NASA’s Mars Orbiter Snaps Colour Photos Of The ESA’s Crashed Lander

NASA’s Mars Orbiter Snaps Colour Photos Of The ESA’s Crashed Lander
Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

The European Space Agency has had a rough ride this year, first with Rosetta and Philae and more recently, stacking into Mars with the Schiaparelli lander. The crash site was previously captured in black and white by NASA’s Mars Orbiter and now it’s had a second crack, though this time in colour.

While the colour images don’t reveal anything particularly groundbreaking, the distinctive scorch mark all but confirms Schiaparelli’s fate, if for some reason you were holding out on the alien abduction theory.

What is a little more interesting is this second image below, also snapped by the MRO on November 1.

This picture shows the lander’s rear heatshield and parachute on two different days. Why does the top white shape look different? I’ll let the ESA take that one:

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.

If you’re keen for more photos, don’t fret, the ESA plans to construct a “stereo reconstruction” of the above image to “confirm the orientation of the rear heatshield”.