BERLIN (AP) — New images from a NASA satellite indicate that the European Space Agency's experimental Schiaparelli lander created a shallow crater on Mars when it plummeted to the surface last week.
ESA lost communication with Schiaparelli shortly before the probe was supposed to touch down on Oct. 19. Two days later, pictures taken by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter showed a black spot at the landing site — indicating that the probe crashed at speed and may have exploded.
ESA said Thursday that more detailed images from the orbiter indicate that Schiaparelli dug a crater some 50 centimeters (nearly 20 inches) deep and about 2.4 meters (7.9 feet) across. It's still analyzing asymmetrical dark markings around the site, which it says may mean the craft's propellant tanks exploded largely in one direction.