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Euro-Russian Probe Left Crater At Site Of Crash Landing On Mars

An illustration of the European-Russian space probe, the Schiaparelli, which crashed landed on Mars last week.

Images taken by a NASA Mars orbiter indicate that Europe's ill-fated Mars probe left a small crater on the Red Planet's surface, suggesting the craft hit the ground at high speed.

The Schiaparelli probe, part of the Russian-European ExoMars joint venture to search for life on Mars, crashed last week when its thrusters stopped firing too soon during its descent to the surface.

It was only the second European attempt to land a craft on Mars, after a failed mission by Beagle 2 in 2003.

Scientists believe that the Schiaparelli craft hit the ground at more than 300 kilometers per hour instead of touching down softly as planned because of a glitch in its pre-programmed landing software.

New high-resolution pictures taken by the U.S. Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter show a dark, shallow crater at the crash site as well as asymmetric dark markings around the site which scientists said were more difficult to interpret.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters