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.
- Who Will Be TIME's Person of the Year 2023?
- Why Cell Phone Reception Is Getting Worse
- The Dirty Secrets of Alternative Plastics
- Column: It's Time to Scrap the Abraham Accords
- Israeli Family Celebrates Release of Hostage Grandmother
- In a New Movie, Beyoncé Finds Freedom
- The Top 100 Photos of 2023
- Want Weekly Recs on What to Watch, Read, and More? Sign Up for Worth Your Time