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European lander released to begin final descent to Mars

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The Schiaparelli lander will analyze atmosphere of Mars and will also search for signs of life on the red planet.

The main pupose of this Mars lander is to capture some close-up images of the Martian surfaces, conduct scientific measurements on the surfaces, and test technology for a future European Mars rover.

It is hoped Schiaparelli will fare better than its predecessor Beagle 2, which vanished on Christmas Day in 2003 after separating from the Mars Express orbiter.

The European spacecraft, Schiaparelli EDM lander, has reportedly detached from its mothership and is soon going to make a daring landing on Mars.

The two crafts are part of the ExoMars mission, a joint venture between ESA and Russia's Roscosmos space agency, and were launched in March. This is because on Earth methane in the atmosphere is produced largely by living organisms.

The real thing will happen this Wednesday, October 19, 2016. "However, to get the mothership (Trace Gas Orbiter) into orbit, we must make a small but vital adjustment on October 17 to ensure it avoids the planet". A successful landing this week would make Schiaparelli the first European lander to land on Mars.

A second mission will launch ExoMars rover in year 2020. The 1,272-pound vehicle is expected to touch down on Wednesday after gliding through the Red Planet's thin atmosphere at 13,000 miles per hour, before being slowed by atmospheric drag and then a parachute, before thrusters finally bring it to a soft landing.

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But the sheer difficulty of even landing crafts on the planet's surface isn't putting people off.

Scientists believe that atmospheric gases which might be present in small concentrations of less than one percent could be evidence for possible biological or geological activity on Mars.

The extreme ride through Mars' atmosphere will take 6 minutes. The Lander will use thrusters, a huge parachute and a heat shield to land on Meridian Planum.

The times indicated in the animation are onboard spacecraft times at Mars.

With a 10-minute delay - the time it takes for a message to reach Earth - Schiaparelli will send data on temperature, humidity, density profile and electrical properties.

Schiaparelli is a relatively simple spacecraft, and its battery should provide power for up to eight days of operations after landing.

Once this is achieved, in early 2018, it will begin its work of sniffing the Mars atmosphere from about 400 kilometres for methane.

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