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A new ESA report says that the ExoMars 2016 Schiaparelli lander failed because its navigation system thought the lander was on the ground when it was still more than two miles from the surface.
Europe’s Schiaparelli Mars lander crashed last month after a sensor failure caused it to cast away its parachute and turn off braking thrusters more than two miles (3.7 km) above the surface of the planet, as if it had already landed, a report released on Wednesday said.
Figuring out what caused this failure will be helpful for the design of the ExoMars 2020 rover, but the failure here is likely going to make it more difficult for Europe to raise the money needed for that next mission, including a 400 million euro cost overrun.