Success after decades of failures begins in space cemetery


After a 482 million-kilometer journey through space over six months, NASA's $ 933 million InSight spacecraft landed safely on Mars early in the morning.

Moments before landing, eager flight controllers and engineers passed silently through peanut containers, according to a tradition of good luck developed at NASA years ago.

As the InSight spacecraft traversed the rough, dusty atmosphere around Mars, communications back to the California space station were cut off for seven minutes – a period called "seven minutes of terror."

But it seemed the peanuts worked their magic, as the successful landing, confirmed shortly before 7am on Tuesday, saw the space controllers and flight engineers of the space agency explode into applause and applause.

Twitter exploded with footage of NASA employees wearing brown shirts, hugging and clapping after receiving word that InSight had arrived, safe and sound.

The small probe will now begin to explore the planet to evaluate its mineral components.

This expedition marks the first landing on the Red Planet in six years since the Curiosity rover arrived in 2012.

Now the real work of NASA begins, with the little device sending the first of many photos of his new home later that morning.

Deputy leader of the mission, Dr. Sue Smrekar, said a successful landing may seem "smooth and easy – like a piece of cake."

But the landing of the spacecraft comes after decades of false beginnings and failed missions by specialists to explore Mars.

According to Dr. Smrekar, less than half of the missions to Mars were actually successful.

The journey to explore the Red Planet for extraterrestrial life and, more recently, its suitability to host the human race, was full of disasters.

Here are just a few of the dead robots in the last two decades, currently inhabiting the Mars cemetery:


Name – Schiaparelli Module (Europe)

Result – Explosion

The AUD 360 million experimental probe, called the Schiaparelli module, is believed to have exploded before colliding with Mars.

The spacecraft was designed and launched by the European Space Agency and, after the impact, left a shallow crater on the surface of the planet.

Photos taken by NASA revealed that the wreck had left a black spot on the surface of Mars, about 50cm deep and 2.4m wide.


Name – Yinghuo-1 (China) and Phobos-Grunt (Russia)

Result – Equipment failure

Two space exploration orbiters, Chinese Yinghuo-1 and Russian Phobos-Grunt, were launched from Kazakhstan in November 2011.

Weighing 150 kg, Yinghuo-1 was sent into the orbit of Mars for a two-year period, collecting information about the atmosphere and surface of the planet.

Phobos-Grunt's $ 89 million mission was to visit the moon of Mars, Phobos, and return samples of its soil.

However, after the launch, both Yinghuo-1 and Phobos-Grunt failed to perform the necessary burns to leave Earth's orbit.

The two orbiter reentered the Earth's atmosphere the following year and disintegrated in the Pacific Ocean.


Name – Beagle 2 (United Kingdom)

Result – Unknown

The fate of Beagle 2 remains a mystery to this day, but it is assumed that the spacecraft is resting in the cemetery of failed missions on the Red Planet.

Lander Mars was developed by the British for a joint European mission to look for signs of past lives on the planet.

The project cost about AUD $ 124 million.

While the spacecraft was launched successfully in space, it did not make contact at the scheduled landing time.

It was assumed that the Beagle 2 crashed and the European Space Agency declared the mission lost the following year.


Name – Deep Space 2 and Mars Polar Lander (USA)

Result – Lost contact

The late 1990s were a devastating period for space exploration, with four failed missions recorded in less than two years.

NASA's Deep Space 2 spacecraft were sent to Mars in January 1999, composing two tiny probes called "Scott" and "Amundsen".

The mini-probes should separate from the Mars Polar Lander and arrive safely, without the help of a parachute.

However, efforts by NASA flight controllers to establish contact with the probe and probes were not met and the mission was declared a failure the following year.


Name – Mars Orbiter's Climate (US)

Result – The calculation error on the ground caused it to burn in space

This 338 kg orbiter was deployed at Cape Canaveral in December 1998, before an embarrassing metric error caused its death.

The mission, which cost more than AUD $ 450 million, was to study surface and atmosphere changes on Mars.

Due to a miscalculation on Earth, the spacecraft approached Mars very quickly and resulted in its disintegration upon arrival.

Later, scientists explained that the Mars Climate Orbiter came very close to the Red Planet and burned its atmosphere.


Name – Nozomi (Japan)

Result – Run out of fuel, electrical failure

The Nozomi spacecraft was launched in July 1998 at the Uchinoura Space Center in Japan.

His mission was to examine the solar winds of Mars to prepare for future missions and obtain images of the planet.

The name "Nozomi" translates from Japanese to "hope".

Ironically, the orbiter was left waiting for more fuel after some sloppy planning left it without enough gas in the tank to safely take it to Mars.

A failure in the electrical system also meant that Nozomi never reached the Martian orbit.


Name – Mars 96 (Russia)

Result – Launch failure

Sometimes it's hard to even get off the ground. This was certainly the case for the Mars 96 spacecraft, destined for Mars.

Engineers from the Russian Space Forces thought they had corrected errors from previous attempts to reach Mars, but soon proved to be wrong after a disastrous launch phase.

The spacecraft was launched from Kazakhstan but failed to start appropriate burns to propel it toward Mars.

The vessel then reentered the Earth's atmosphere and separated, leaving the wreckage 320 kilometers from Chile, Bolivia and the Pacific Ocean.


Source link