Monday, August 8, 2016

Expedition MARS.

The first part of the two-phase, joint European-Russian ExoMars mission is scheduled to reach Mars , is on track to arrive at the Red Planet in October. Over the last several years there have many space missions to Mars , along with robotic rovers . Along with Jupiter which has one probe set to orbit it this month . Just thinking about another mission to Mars is exciting .(1)>>The rovers were sent with the specific goals of locating and examining soils and rocks that might hold clues to past water activity on Mars. The rovers landed in different regions of the planet. The landing sites were chosen because previous observations had suggested water activity in the areas. The rovers carry various scientific instruments that aid the scientists in their long distance exploration. The panoramic camera helps determine the texture and structure of the terrain. Spectrometers are used for analysis of soil, rock, and atmospheric samples. A microscopic imager is used to collect high resolution images of soil and rock particles. There is also a rock abrasion tool that removes weathered surfaces from rocks, exposing fresh materials for examination by the imager and spectrometers.So what have the two rovers found? Lots and lots of evidence that liquid water was once plentiful on the surface of Mars! Among this evidence, they have found crystals that only grow in the presence of water, and rock formations which could only have been carved by flowing liquid water.The huge number of attempted Mars missions may seem surprising, especially since many of our solar system's other planets and moons remain relatively unstudied. But the Red Planet keeps calling us back — and for good reason, experts say.he Mars exploration era began in October 1960, when the Soviet
Union launched two probes four days apart. The spacecraft, known in the West as Marsnik 1 and Marsnik 2, were designed to perform flybys of the Red Planet, but neither even reached Earth orbit.The United States got in the game in 1964, launching the Mariner 3 spacecraft on an intended Mars flyby. The mission failed, but Mariner 4 succeeded, cruising past the Red Planet in July 1965 and sending 21 photos back to Earth.The nation built on that accomplishment, sending a series of orbiters, landers and rovers to Mars over the following five decades.NASA was ESA's original partner on ExoMars, whose name is short for Exobiology on Mars. But the American space agency dropped out in February 2012, citing budget issues. About a year later, ESA signed a deal with Roscosmos, the Russian federal space agency, to pick up the slack. Existing schemes, including the ones scheduled by NASA (1.2)>>for the 2030s, don't factor in the fuel or resources for a return trip, which means the first human settlers would have to live out the rest of their days there. Previous proposals have also reckoned with a journey time of something like 18 months, which means astronauts are more at risk of contracting various diseases and ailments along the way.(2)>>Russia has announced that it will test a nuclear engine in 2018 that could help cosmonauts reach Mars in just six weeks. It's actually Russia's national nuclear corporation, Rosatom, that has the big idea for a nuclear-powered spaceship, and it's not a completely new concept either: both Russia and the United States were working on similar systems during the Cold War of the 1960s and onwards, although their efforts were focused on lightweight orbital satellites rather than space vehicles to take us to Mars and back again. There are more Russian ambitious spaceflight goals are laid out in a strategy document drawn up recently by Russia's Federal Space Agency (known as Roscosmos), the Russian newspaper Kommersant reported. And there's more. Roscosmos wants a new rocket called Angara to become the nation's workhorse launch vehicle by 2020, replacing the venerable Soyuz and Proton rockets that have been carrying the load since the 1960s. The space agency also plans to top Angara with a new six-seat spaceship, an upgrade over the three-passenger Soyuz spacecraft that is currently the world's only means of transporting astronauts to and from the International Space Station. [Photos: Building the International Space Station]  The annexation of Crimea, the war in Ukraine, and the resulting economic sanctions from the West—combined with falling oil prices—have squeezed the Russian economy and forced Moscow to tighten the belt across the board. Not surprisingly, all but most essential projects in the Russian space program were slashed. The practical advantages I'm thinking of deal with the development of technology and knowledge of operating off world for extended periods. We don't have long duration life support systems for the ISS so we have to send multiple resupply vehicles each year. The Apollo astronauts talked of the challenges of dealing with the lunar dust. Dust will also be a problem on Mars, so lunar experience can help develop the technology and techniques for dealing with it. The environmental and gravitational conditions are quite different on the moon and Mars but there may be some lessons learned about long duration EVA suits and habitation technology. No one has gone beyond LEO since 1972, so building the experience levels of both the astronauts and ground crews will be important. IMO, going to Mars first without developing and testing these technologies under harsh conditions will increase the chances of mission failure.Russia plans to launch one or two manned space missions to the Moon each year between 2025 and 2040, A lunar base, for real. Long the stuff of science fiction, it seems Russia is trying to do this for real, or at least wants to. The BBC reportedHowever, at the moment it is unclear whether this big idea will actually come to fruition. According to Tech Times, the head of Lin Industrial Sergei Burkayovsky has so far only invested $176,000 into the project; around a tenth of what Lunar Mission One has so far raised. That’s not enough to build the first prototype rocket, and is only a sliver of the $13.5 million required to test it.

(1)>>The rovers. Four years ago today, NASA's Mars rover Curiosity made one of the most dramatic and harrowing landings in the history of space exploration.On the night of Aug. 5, 2012, a rocket-powered "sky crane" lowered the car-size Curiosity onto Mars' red dirt using cables, then flew off and crash-landed intentionally a safe distance away.Curiosity team members had modeled this novel technique repeatedly using computers, but it had never been tested fully here on Earth, let alone employed on the surface of another world. [Curiosity Team Highlights 4th Year on Mars (Video)(1.2)>>for the 2030s.On July 8,2016 the president of the French space agency, Jean-Yves Le Gall, reiterated his view that what’s going on at NASA and in the U.S. private sector, notably with SpaceX of Hawthorne, California, make it more likely that human missions to Mars will occur sooner than the 2030s.French scientists have long preferred Mars to the Moon as an exploration destination and CNES has participated on nearly all the NASA-led Mars missions
in recent years.    (2)>>Russia .  The $274 million project, which was originally overseen by the space agency RosCosmos in 2010, has now become the responsibility of nuclear group, Rosatom. If Russia can successfully achieve this they will steal a march on Nasa to be the most advanced spacefaring nation.Its a pity that Nasa pulled back on manned missions to the moon and mars and i guess they were confident they were the most advanced space nation.They made it to the moon and they thought they had won the space race.Like the hare they dozed off and the russian tortoise looks like making spectacular advances with this technology.Doing Mars in 6wks will be groundbreaking.In July 1988, the nation launched the Phobos 1 and 2 missions in a bold effort to investigate Mars and its small moon, Phobos. This was one of the most innovative planetary missions ever attempted, involving the first close scientific investigation of and landing on another planet's moon.Some scientists believe that Phobos, and the other Martian moon Deimos, are captured asteroids. Scientists are interested in knowing how asteroids formed and what that can reveal about the creation of the solar system. In addition to studying Phobos, the spacecrafts were designed to take photographs and measurements of Mars and its environment.The two spacecraft were to have entered Martian orbit and then
gradually maneuvered toward Phobos, flying to within 31 to 62 meters (100 to 200 feet) of the surface. The spacecraft would use a laser instrument to vaporize small parts of the surface. The vapors would be measured to determine the chemical composition of the surface. Another instrument would measure the composition by emitting a concentrated beam of krypton particles. A mass spectrometer would have measured the particles given off by the surface material.The most interesting aspect of the mission involved two landers that each spacecraft was to have released. The larger lander included a camera, a surface penetrator, and other instruments to measure the surface of Phobos. Because the moon's gravity is so small, a harpoon-like object would be driven into the surface to keep the probe from drifting back into orbit. The smaller lander, which weighed 50 kilograms (110 pounds), had spring-loaded legs that would allow it to hop around the surface. The lander would make chemical, magnetic and gravity observations at different locations.The mission was the most international planetary program ever run by the Soviet Union. It included equipment, cameras and instruments from 14 nations. Participants included the European Space Agency and individual European nations such as Austria, France, Sweden, Switzerland, and West Germany. The United States government allowed American scientists to serve as advisors and contributed the use of its Deep Space Network for tracking the twin spacecraft. As a result, scientists in many nations eagerly awaited the results.Unfortunately, they were deeply disappointed. Phobos 1 was lost on September 2, 1988, when a controller sent the wrong command to the spacecraft's computer. Phobos 1 became disoriented and lost its lock on the sun. The solar cells could not function properly and the probe lost power.Phobos 2 entered Martian orbit on January 30, 1989, and began making observations of Mars and Phobos. However, it failed after moving within 800 kilometers (500 miles) of Phobos. Controllers believe that an on-board computer malfuction resulted in a failure of orientation control, thus exhausting the craft's energy supply. The landers were never released.The Soviet Union collapsed at the end of 1991. The Russian government has attempted to continue an ambitious set of Mars exploration projects planned during the final years of the USSR. The missions include orbiters, balloons, surface penetrators, and rovers. During this period, the Russians have stepped up efforts to cooperate with the United States, European countries, and other foreign governments.

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