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Spaceflight

The Schiaparelli Spacecraft Touches Down On Mars

On October 19th, the European Space Agency's (ESA) Schiaparelli spacecraft is scheduled to touch down on the Martian surface. If the risky descent is a success—and it may not be, since after all, about half of the crafts sent to Mars have failed somewhere along the way—Schiaparelli will be a proof of concept to help the agency send a more robust lander in later years. Even though it's technically a test project, the trip won't waste time, since Schiaparelli comes with a science package on board to take advantage of its Martian surroundings. Plus, the Trace Gas Orbiter, Schiaparelli's "mother ship," will remain as a Martian satellite to analyze the planet's atmosphere for years to come. Learn more about the mission in the videos below.

Schiaparelli's Descent Trajectory

Watch the planned trajectory for the lander.

Schiaparelli's Descent In Real Time

Watch a computer generated version of what the descent would look like.

Uniting the Trace Gas Orbiter and Schiaparelli

Watch this important finishing touch to the spacecraft.

Schiaparelli Lander Separates from Trace Gas Orbiter

Footage from mission control shows the celebration that took place during this important step in the mission.

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