Lost Mars lander fell 2-4 km, destroyed on impact – NASA images

Schiaparelli, the landing craft from the European Space Agency’s Exomars probe, which went missing earlier this week near the surface of Mars, has apparently been destroyed, according to new data.

The ESA craft fell to the Mars surface from a height of 2 to 4 kilometers (1.2 to 2.5 miles), the agency said. The disc-shaped spacecraft, which weighed 577 kilos (1,272 lb) was destroyed on impact, according to RT.

Mammals diversified only after dinosaur extinction left space

Biologist Dr Matthew Phillips used molecular dating from DNA sequences to challenge the dominant scientific theory that placental mammals diversified 20 million years before dinosaurs became extinct.

In a paper , Dr Phillips said biases in models of DNA evolution inflated estimates of when modern mammals, which were once no larger than a guinea pig, diversified and evolved into the animals familiar to us today.

"We can infer that some placental mammals did co-exist with dinosaurs," he said.

China to launch manned space mission Shenzhou 11 on Monday

China launches a two-man space mission, Shenzhou 11, on Monday, officials with the space program said, taking the country closer to its ambition of setting up a permanent manned space station by 2022.

President Xi Jinping has called for China to establish itself as a space power, and it has tested anti-satellite missiles, in addition to its civilian aims, according to Reuters.

China says its space program is for peaceful purposes, but the U.S. Defense Department has highlighted its increasing capabilities, saying it was pursuing activities aimed to prevent adversaries from using space-based assets in a crisis.

European Schiaparelli probe on target for Mars landing

Europe's Schiaparelli spacecraft is on course to land on Mars.

The 577kg probe separated successfully from its mothership on Sunday at 14:42 GMT.

It is now on a direct path to intercept the top of the Red Planet's atmosphere on Wednesday, according to BBC.

The module will then have just under six minutes to reduce its 21,000km/h entry speed to zero in order to make a relatively soft flop-down on to Mars' dusty surface.

Butterfly numbers drop a mystery

A huge drop in the number of butterflies in the UK is causing confusion among wildlife experts.

The Big Butterfly Count - an annual survey by thousands of volunteers - recorded an average 12.2 per count, compared with a 2013 high of 23.

Numbers were even lower than a previous slump in the wet summer of 2012, despite far warmer weather, according to BBC.

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