Mars – a tough nut to crack



Europe’s Schiaparelli lander is feared to have crashed onto the surface of Mars at catastrophic speed when it attempted to land, with the parachute jettisoning early and the retrorockets switching off too soon. It is part of ExoMars (Exobiology on Mars), a two-part astrobiology project, a joint mission between Europe and Russia, which is searching for evidence of life, past and present on Mars and investigating how the Martian water and geochemical environment varies. This first part, placed an atmospheric probe into Mars orbit and released the stationary lander. If the robot is confirmed as lost, it will be a major blow. But officials say it will give the learning experience to go ahead with the landing on Mars of an ambitious six-wheeled rover in 2020/1.

The ExoMars Trace Orbiter mothership launched on 14 March 2016 9.31am UT Baikonur, Russia which gives a very Mutable chart with a Pisces Sun opposition Jupiter North Node square Saturn in Sagittarius; and a Gemini Moon opposition Mars (Saturn) square Venus Neptune (Mercury) opposition Jupiter. And an unpredictable Uranus on the Midheaven square Pluto in the engineering 6th. Good may come out of it since there’s also a Pluto trine Jupiter – but the Eclipses and tr Saturn square tr Neptune are playing havoc with all those mutable planets for several years ahead.  Exactly now, tr Neptune is square Mars/Saturn, which is bad news; and tr Saturn is conjunct Jupiter/Neptune and Sun/Venus which suggest disappointment and loss. Such a shame after that lovely Jupiter probe.

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