A Computer Glitch Likely Crashed A Robot On Mars
A technical error is believed to have caused the lander's parachute to separate about a minute too early.
A computer error seems to have made the lander's parachute separate about a minute too early. The computer thought the lander was pretty close to the ground, not more than a mile above it. So boosters weren't fired long enough to help the lander slow down.
A satellite was only able to take pictures before and after the crash, but the researchers assume the wreckage was pretty firery.
It's a shame all that work went down the drain, but the lander was only part of a larger mission, which the ESA's director general still called a 96 percent success.
The downside is the ESA still has to get $326 million to make its budget, and it's going to be requesting that money from the European Union in December — with the crash still fresh in everyone's mind.
Some think the ESA won't have any problem securing the funds, while others think it would be a lot easier if the lander had actually, you know, landed.
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