Space enthusiasts might have found a lost Soviet lander on Mars

NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

Back in December 1971, the Soviet lander Mars 3 landed on the red planet, but only managed to transmit data for a few seconds before losing contact with Earth. While this made it the first Mars lander that didn't crash on the planet's surface, the lander remained missing somewhere on Mars. Until now.

A group of Russian space enthusiasts found what they believe to be four parts of the Soviet lander by using images from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. And NASA agrees they may be onto something.

The group looked at a five-year-old image, and spotted what is likely the craft's parachute, heat shield, terminal retrorocket, and lander. A more recent image, taken just last month by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, seems to confirm the group's earlier findings.

NASA plans to study the current data, as well as any future high-resolution images of the area, to confirm that what the group saw is actually the Mars 3 lander. Check out the picture in high resolution and tell us what you think—could this be the missing lander?

[NASA via PetaPixel]

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