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Space Science Technology

Phobos-Grunt Launches To Retrieve a Sample of Phobos 65

An anonymous reader writes with news that Russia's Phobos-Grunt spacecraft has launched, taking the first step on its mission to travel to Phobos, the larger of Mars' two moons. When (and if — see below) it lands on Phobos, the probe will collect a soil sample and attempt to return it to Earth. "Russia’s Federal Space Agency said the craft separated successfully from the booster about 11 minutes later. ... The return vehicle is expected to carry up to 200 grams (7 ounces) of soil from Phobos back to Earth in August 2014. The $170 million endeavor would be Russia’s first interplanetary mission since Soviet times. A previous 1996 robotic mission to Mars ended in failure when the probe crashed in the Pacific following an engine failure." Unfortunately, there appears to have been a problem with the launch. Details are uncertain at this point, but the probe reportedly made it to orbit intact, and the mission is not necessarily ruined.
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Phobos-Grunt Launches To Retrieve a Sample of Phobos

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  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2011 @03:45AM (#37996380)

    Update 5:09 PST. The Phobos-Grunt spacecraft has not been found in its predicted orbit.

    Update 5:45 PST. A Deep Space Network source indicates that the spacecraft is in safe mode, and the engine burn was never performed. The spacecraft could be reset, and the mission might be recoverable. Stay tuned.

    Update 7:13 PST. Vladimir Putin has announced he will be going into orbit to save the mission. He plans to pilot his craft as close to the Phobos-Grunt spacecraft as possible. He will then exit the craft (EVA), remove his shirt and throw Phobos-Grunt to Mars.

  • by nounderscores ( 246517 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2011 @04:45AM (#37996676)

    The only way to reliably get from earth to phobos is teleporting via hell.

  • by psergiu ( 67614 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2011 @08:14AM (#37997704)

    The Council of Elders has declared a planet-wide celebration in the light of the latest victory of our special forces team.

    K'breel, speaker for the Council, declared:

    Oh, what a joyous day, our special forces, from their forward base in orbit around the Evil Blue Planet has scored another victory against the enemy. Their plan of sending a mechanized invader on our holly moon Z'treem was foiled - eight of our best warriors have sacrificed themselves and blocked the invader's reactive engine with their bodies, drowning the mechanized monster in their own ichor. Let's forever praise the courage of our warriors.

  • by GameboyRMH ( 1153867 ) <> on Wednesday November 09, 2011 @09:58AM (#37998500) Journal

    Didn't people the money here instead of orbiting earth?

    No, they accidentally the whole thing.

God made the integers; all else is the work of Man. -- Kronecker