New color images reveal what happened to Mars lander

NASA has released first color images of the area where the Schiaparelli test lander arrived on the surface of Mars about two weeks ago.

The agency's news release includes three separate images which it describes as "the lander module itself in the upper portion, the parachute and back shell at lower left, and the heat shield at lower right."

The piece goes on to explain that "Schiaparelli was one component of the European Space Agency's ExoMars 2016 project, which placed the Trace Gas Orbiter into orbit around Mars on the same arrival date."

While the heat shield and parachute approached Mars' surface mostly as expected, NASA says "the lander hit the ground at a velocity of more than 180 miles per hour."

The component's thrusters are believed to have cut off prematurely, causing it to drop from a distance of more than a mile in the air, reports NPR.

Patterns indicate the possible creation of a shallow crater at the impact site.

The release also states that "the module may have broken up at impact, and some fragments might have been thrown outward."

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