ESA’s Mars Lander Lost During Descent

The European Space Agency confirmed Thursday morning that its Schiaparelli lander had been lost during its decent onto Mars. According to officials, the spacecraft ceased to send transmissions around 50 seconds before its expected landing on the red planet. The agency’s early analysis suggests the failure occurred because of the parachute’s jettison. “The ejection itself appears to have occurred earlier than expected, but analysis is not yet complete,” the ESA said in a press statement. “We have data coming back that allows us to fully understand the steps that did occur, and why the soft landing did not occur,” the program’s director added. Officials have not yet determined whether the lander actually crashed on the surface in a high-speed freefall.