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See The Photo NASA’s Orbiter Took Of the Crashed Mars Probe

The image shows a black spot in the place that the craft Schiaparelli was supposed to land

An experimental Mars probe crash landed on the surface of the planet Wednesday, and NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter may have just taken a photo of the remains.


The image shows a black spot in the place that the craft Schiaparelli was supposed to land to begin its multi-year mission of sampling the planet’s atmosphere. The Associated Press reports that the images seem to show that the probe’s rocket fuel exploded on impact. But as TIME’s Jeffrey Kluger writes, the image of a black speck on the surface of the red planet belies the heartbreak of everyone behind the Schiaparelli mission, and the unity it inspired between nations. “If space is hard and expensive, it’s also scary as hell—deep and deadly and exceedingly mysterious,” he writes. “I don’t care how tough you think you are, if you’re walking through the woods on a very dark night with three of your worst enemies, you’re going to huddle up close when the wolves begin to howl. So we go to space boldly, but holding hands. That might, to a cynic, make us look timid, but it makes us feel sweetly human.

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