Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Russians are coming: as “ExoMars” will remove the “Martian curse” with Russia – RIA Novosti

MOSCOW, 16 Oct – RIA Novosti. Today probe “ExoMars” will arrive in the vicinity of Mars and begins the procedure of rendezvous with the red planet, and separates himself from landing platform Schiaparelli, a prototype of the Mars Rover “Paster”, and on Wednesday will begin examining the mysteries of Mars. RIA “Novosti” tells of past and future exploration of Mars by Russia.

the Martian Through the thorns to the stars

the fate of Mars, despite the red color, extremely unfriendly planet for the Soviet Union and Russia. In the first decade of the “space age,” from 1960 to 1970, Soviet scientists and engineers have tried to send to the red planet eight probes, none of which have reached Mars.

the First five machines from the 1M and WW2 started in 1960 and 1962, or are unable to take off from the surface of the Earth, or has failed in its orbit. Their goal was to obtain the first images of Mars, study its atmosphere and even in search of living beings on its surface. A similar fate awaited the probes of the 3MV series and M-69, only one of which is Mars-1 was launched on a course of rapprochement with Mars, but lost in 4 months after the start of the mission.

For this reason, honored to receive the first pictures and collect first scientific data about Mars had American probes from the series “Mariner”, built and launched much later. The USSR tried to catch up only in the early 1970s, when the programme “Mars” to the red planet was simultaneously sent to the spacecraft Mars-2 and Mars-3.

These automatic stations were able to successfully reach Mars, but bad weather conditions on the red planet prevented a normal landing landing research vehicles, which bore the brunt of the Mars-2 and Mars-3. However, the lander of Mars 3 was able to successfully land on the surface of Mars for the first time in the history of space exploration, and for 20 seconds passed pictures of the red planet. The probes themselves have worked in orbit for about a year and gathered a lot of interesting scientific information.

Then began a new series of failures, which is actually still ongoing. In 1973, the Mars was sent to the four apparatus – probes Mars 4 and Mars-5, and Lendery Mars-6 and Mars-7. All of these missions ended in failure – Mars 4 flew by Mars, and Mars 5 failed after 10 days after reaching orbit, communication with the Mars 6 was lost after 150 seconds after entering the atmosphere, and Mars 7 missed the planet.

More, in fact, the Soviet Union to Mars fly – only in 1988 toward Phobos, the Martian satellite, was sent a couple of probes Phobos-1 and Phobos-2, one of the most ambitious space projects of the USSR, created with participation of the European space Agency and 14 foreign countries. Unfortunately, as the previous domestic mission to Mars, he’s failed Phobos-1 failed before approaching Mars, and Phobos-2 was mysteriously out of order when he got close to the moon of Mars at about a thousand kilometers.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia has made two unsuccessful attempts to explore secrets of Mars – the device “Mir-96″ burned in the Earth’s atmosphere due to a failure in the booster, and the infamous “Phobos-Grunt” failed in orbit in December 2011 and it burned out after two months of desperate attempts to save him in mid-January 2012.

New hope

a New chance to break the “curse of Mars” appeared in Russia in February 2012, when NASA announced its withdrawal from the project “ExoMars” project of the European space Agency to create the orbital module and Rover – due to severe reductions in the budget of the Agency conducted by the Obama administration.

a year Roskosmos and ESA signed an agreement under which Russia became a full member of both missions. On the probe TGO, which will arrive to Mars on Tuesday, October 19, have two Russian instrument – neutron detector FREND and spectrometer ACS. The second part of the mission – the Rover “Pasteur” – will be equipped with the Russian scientific instruments, and a landing platform for him to create a NPO. Lavochkin

the task of the “Pasteur” — geological research and the search for traces of life around the landing site and the probe will study the traces of rare elements in the atmosphere of Mars and search for deposits of water ice, as well as told RIA “Novosti” Vadim Krasnopolsky, to look for possible traces of life in the methane distribution on Mars.

the Probe TGO was successfully sent into space in March of this year, and this weekend in the first days of next week comes a critical stage in his life – closer to Mars, landing demonstration platform “Schiaparelli”, which ESA scientists want to work out the details of the landing “Pasteur” and the orbit of the red planet.

the First steps in this important process had already been made – on Friday, the probe TGO made the last maneuver, which led him on a trajectory of convergence with Mars. The trajectory of the probe, as shown by telemetry, was so successful that the “pilots” of the mission had to adjust the speed of movement of the TGO only 1 centimeter per second. Such a high accuracy, the engineers managed to achieve thanks to the original navigation system, which uses quasars – the bright cores of distant galaxies – as radioelektron.

on Sunday, about 17 hours and 40 minutes Moscow time, the module “Schiaparelli” will separate from the probe, will unwind and will begin an independent journey to Mars. If for some reason he fails to leave in “free swimming”, this operation may be repeated on Monday.

Early on the morning of Monday the TGO will begin a maneuver, which will allow him to take a high orbit of Mars, and two days later, on 19 October, about four o’clock in the evening, he’ll be in stable orbit around the red planet. The maneuver to enter the orbit will last for 139 minutes, and its failure will lead to the fact that “ExoMars” will repeat the fate of the Mars-4 and Mars-7.

the output of the TGO orbit will occur almost simultaneously with the landing of “Schiaparelli”, which will start at five o’clock in the evening Moscow time (MSK 17-42) and will take around eight minutes. If all completed successfully, then the next three months engineers and scientists will spend the mission for review and gradual incorporation of instruments TGO.

Then, beginning in March 2017, the TGO will begin slowly to fall, slowing myself down with the help of air currents in the atmosphere of Mars gradually down to a height of 400 kilometers from the surface. Such a maneuver, so-called “air braking”, ESA has already sold in the last months of the probe “Venus Express”, which significantly prolong his life. The first scientific satellite data, the scientists plan to until the end of December this year.

“Eight minutes of terror”

on the other hand, photos that will get “Schiaparelli” during landing and after landing on Mars, we will see on Thursday. In addition to solving engineering problems, “Schiaparelli” will perform a number of scientific problems.

Landing “Schiaparelli”, like all other Mars missions, will be carried out in the Equatorial regions of the planet, on the plateau of Meridian, where, in 2004, successfully sat on Mars the Rover opportunity. This plateau is considered to be the bottom of an ancient Martian lakes, which with the help of tools “Schiaparelli” can give us new information about the habitability of Mars in the past.

In particular, the weather station will be DREAMS for several days to monitor the weather, measuring temperature, humidity, pressure, part number TS dust, and for the first time in the history of planetary science, will study the electrical properties of the atmosphere of Mars.

Part of experiments on Board the “Schiaparelli” will begin even before the completion of the planting – for example, the device AMELIA will monitor changes in pressure, temperature and composition of the Martian atmosphere with a height of 130 kilometers and up to the surface of Mars.

the boarding Process will be filmed on camera DECA, which will receive 15 high quality images during landing. Thus, we get the first competitor to video, which NASA calls “seven minutes of terror”: the process of landing of the Rover Curiosity, captured on camera MARDI.

During the process of planting, in addition to tools of the “Schiaparelli” will be the same to watch the European probe “Mars Express” studying the red planet since 2003. He collected data as scientists hope, will help to improve the design of the Rover “Pasteur” and is the safest way to deliver it, and a landing platform on the surface of Mars, which will finally dispel the “Martian curse” hanging over Russia.


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