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Phobos-Grunt Launches To Retrieve a Sample of Phobos

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the go-get-'em dept.

Space 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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65 comments

Grunt (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37996320)

I would grunt all day if I could get with Phobos.

Re:Grunt (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37996358)

Russia can't into outer space

Re:Grunt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37997176)

Grunt is a russian for a terrain.

Re:Grunt (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#37997316)

I wonder how many NASA program names are rude words in Russian...

Re:Grunt (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 2 years ago | (#37997648)

Actually, it's Russian for "soil", comes from German "grund"

Re:Grunt (2)

JustOK (667959) | more than 2 years ago | (#37998038)

you're making it sound dirty. Please, continue.

Re:Grunt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37998340)

Yes you are right, of course, I thought that "soil" is better a moment after I submitted the comment.

Please... (1)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#37996348)

...don't say the programming is wrong and it'll now take a chunk out of the Earth and fly it to Phobos!

Obligatory (2)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#37996354)

...don't say the programming is wrong and it'll now take a chunk out of the Earth and fly it to Phobos!

In Soviet Russia...

Re:Obligatory (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37997276)

In Soviet Russia Phobos probe you.

Re:Please... (2)

DZign (200479) | more than 2 years ago | (#37996444)

I'm only interested in the results of this mission when they find samples of leather godesses :-)

Re:Please... (1)

tigersha (151319) | more than 2 years ago | (#37996502)

Thanks for the good memories man.
Roger Wilco Lives!

Re:Please... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37998998)

Roger met the Latex Babes of Estros. Close though.

Re:Please... (1)

Zaphod-AVA (471116) | more than 2 years ago | (#37998864)

Lewd mode on.

Re:Please... (3, Funny)

psergiu (67614) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Please... (1)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | more than 2 years ago | (#38028794)

LOL!

More updates (5, Funny)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:More updates (1)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 2 years ago | (#37996594)

hahaha, that's awesome.

A TV show here in Australia has a segment called "WHAT WOULD PUTIN DO?" (show is about advertising), goes over his many exploits doing things such as this (saving whales, saving babies, saving baby whales, whatever).

Good show old chap, if I had mod points, you'd have them.

Re:More updates (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37997138)

[golf clap]

You win the internet today sir. Tomorrow we battle again but today, you win.

Re:More updates (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37997310)

Update 12:00 PST. Vladimir Putin reports that "The cacodemons aren't so difficult".

Re:More updates (1)

captainClassLoader (240591) | more than 2 years ago | (#38000332)

FYI, for those who don't know the language: "Vladimir Putin" is Russian for "Chuck Norris".

Russia still hasn't learned ... (2)

MacTO (1161105) | more than 2 years ago | (#37996492)

Mars is for Amerika. Venus is for Russia.

Seriously. Look at where each nation has had its successes and failures.

$1176470.58 for a gram of Phobos Dust (2)

tigersha (151319) | more than 2 years ago | (#37996520)

That must be the singulary most expensive stuff on the planet!

Re:$1176470.58 for a gram of Phobos Dust (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37996576)

I get 170000000/200 = 850000. Did you mistype 200 as 144.5 ?

Re:$1176470.58 for a gram of Phobos Dust (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37997654)

He included the import tax.

Re:$1176470.58 for a gram of Phobos Dust (3, Interesting)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#37997954)

$170m is actually pretty cheap for this sort of thing. Russia has always been good at making cheap but generally reliable space hardware. On paper it may seem like they have more failures than NASA or the ESA, but that is because they spend less time testing on the ground and more time testing in space. Even when things go wrong the overall cost is usually lower and development more rapid.

Re:$1176470.58 for a gram of Phobos Dust (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37998496)

Ahem...since when have they had a successfull Mars mission? Since, like, forever....

Re:$1176470.58 for a gram of Phobos Dust (1)

CraftyJack (1031736) | more than 2 years ago | (#37999244)

On paper it may seem like they have more failures than NASA or the ESA

When things don't work, it's a failure. Doesn't matter how much you did or didn't spend. There's no "on paper" involved. ($170M is really cheap, though.)

they spend less time testing on the ground and more time testing in space.

Testing after launch isn't called "testing" anymore. It's called "really hoping things go well on this crap shoot" followed by "failure". That's why this stuff is expensive, by the way: You either do it right, or you get nothing. Well, maybe you get a fireball or a crater, but you don't get any science.

Re:$1176470.58 for a gram of Phobos Dust (1)

Convector (897502) | more than 2 years ago | (#37999930)

Actually, you can get science out of making a crater. Deep Impact [nasa.gov] and LCROSS [nasa.gov] performed admirably. Of course it helped that we planned for those to impact.

Re:$1176470.58 for a gram of Phobos Dust (1)

guruevi (827432) | more than 2 years ago | (#37998878)

Don't worry, HP ink cartridges are more expensive I think.

Re:$1176470.58 for a gram of Phobos Dust (1)

Confusador (1783468) | more than 2 years ago | (#38001754)

That must be the singulary most expensive stuff on the planet!

I see what you did there.

Failed to leave Earth orbit (1)

xebecv (1027918) | more than 2 years ago | (#37996524)

According to the latest news. Also failed to find the Sun, and there are three days of battery power left before it's dead. BTW grunt means soil in Russian

Re:Failed to leave Earth orbit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37997346)

BTW grunt means soil in Russian

Now it probably means fail as well.

Re:Failed to leave Earth orbit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37997454)

And also read "grount".

7 oz of material returned (0)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 2 years ago | (#37996530)

Uh, don't get me wrong here, it takes a lot of fuel and energy to get something to Mars.... and then back again. But the lunar moon lander returned with ~300 pounds of material. It seems that after all of the engineering, R&D money and development, it would only be an additional 1% to the project cost to bring back 10 pounds of the stuff. 7 oz is going to be hugely helpful to science, but most of the trip is spent coasting to and from it's destination - there isn't that much additional fuel involved in bumping the payload up from a single serving soda to a family size 12 pack, is there?

Re:7 oz of material returned (4, Informative)

ZankerH (1401751) | more than 2 years ago | (#37996558)

there isn't that much additional fuel involved in bumping the payload up from a single serving soda to a family size 12 pack, is there?

For a retun trip to mars, the mass ratio is around 100 parts fuel for 1 part sample return. It scales pretty linearly. It doesn't matter that it spends most time coasting, you have to accelerate it to the same delta-v regardless of the mass.

Re:7 oz of material returned (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37996562)

Actually, when you talk about fuel load on a craft like this, it becomes orders of magnitude more expensive for every little bit added. Or so I've understood from my interest in this sort of thing, but I'm no rocket scientist.

Mission failed (1)

ygslash (893445) | more than 2 years ago | (#37996538)

Due to an engine problem, the mission failed [foxnews.com] . Too bad.

Re:Mission failed (1)

randuev (1032770) | more than 2 years ago | (#37996626)

it is yet unknown whether it is an engine problem or software glitch. if it's the latter, they will attempt to upload an updated version and send it off. main engine hasn't fired, so they still have fuel. however, they have only three days to find out the problem with software, batteries won't last for much longer.

Re:Mission failed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37996670)

It hasn't failed yet. They think it's a software problem. The craft is in Earth orbit and they have a couple of days to fix it before the batteries run out.

foxnews.com -> Goodbye (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37997908)

Yeah... ./ shows me that it links to FOX "News". Sorry mate. Ain't gonna fall for that. It's like the Goatse of news. If you like what you see, sonething is wrong with you. ;)

Re:foxnews.com - Goodbye (-1, Redundant)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 2 years ago | (#37999686)

Presumably you feel the same way about CNN, BBC, Reuters, the API, MSNBC, CBS, ABC, the NYT, Scientific American, and pretty much every single "news" blog connected to the internet? No? Then you're a big ol' hypocrite.

Re:foxnews.com - Goodbye (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38000042)

Presumably you feel the same way about CNN, BBC, Reuters, the API, MSNBC, CBS, ABC, the NYT, Scientific American, and pretty much every single "news" blog connected to the internet? No? Then you're a big ol' hypocrite.

Oh no. Yep, they all have issues and nope, Fox comes to school on a very, very short bus.

Re:foxnews.com - Goodbye (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38085352)

No. I don't "feel" the same way. I *know*. ^^
Or even better: I have enough observation that I am pretty damn sure in my theory, that ALL information that reaches my brain, is ALWAYS biased, and mostly bullshit. Where all "news sources" and most people are deep in the bullshit category. ^^

Your presumption, while valid, given the amount of people who actually think like you describe, does not fit me. Hence your conclusion is wrong too.

I barely trust what I see with my own eyes. ^^
With everything else, I have given up finding a "truth" (a word that, from a physics and neurology standpoint, is utter nonsense), and focus on how useful the information is for me (in the long run).
And those "news" organizations, as well as most people, are pretty damn retarded and often also pretty damn evil, which makes it no surprise, that it turned out to be generally pretty much completely worthless. ^^

failz0rs (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37996672)

Don't feel that goals. It's when

Everyone knows (4, Funny)

nounderscores (246517) | more than 2 years ago | (#37996676)

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

Re:Everyone knows (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37997824)

Thank you! I was worried I was the only one.

Re:Everyone knows (1)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 2 years ago | (#37998306)

When I read the story title I was sure that it was a description of the backstory of a new Doom title. I must admit, bit of a dissappointment. Not even a double barrel shotty

Re:Everyone knows (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37998542)

All The Worlds Are Your Except Phobos. Attempt No Landing There.

more crap (0)

georgesdev (1987622) | more than 2 years ago | (#37996974)

+1 piece of junk orbiting earth! 170 million$ burned. Didn't people the money here instead of orbiting earth?

Re:more crap (4, Informative)

WillDraven (760005) | more than 2 years ago | (#37997840)

Since we all know they literally burn the money for fuel in the rockets. It doesn't get spent on the components and then keep circulating in the economy or anything. Nope, burned to a cinder, never to be spent again... -sigh-

Re:more crap (1)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 2 years ago | (#37999566)

Since we all know they literally burn the money for fuel in the rockets. It doesn't get spent on the components and then keep circulating in the economy or anything. Nope, burned to a cinder, never to be spent again... -sigh-

...which would take that money out of circulation and make the remaining money more valuable. That actually makes strong economic sense.

Re:more crap (3, Funny)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37998500)

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

No, they accidentally the whole thing.

Re:more crap (2)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 2 years ago | (#37999542)

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

It seems that your people a verb.

It might be for the best that it failed... (2)

Trilkin (2042026) | more than 2 years ago | (#37997020)

First they send probes... then they make a colony researching interdimensional transport... This never works out.

Recharge batteries with laser (2)

value (2182292) | more than 2 years ago | (#37997212)

I wonder if it might be possible to point a laser at the craft's solar panels to recharge its batteries? That is if it has opened its solar panels and they are pointing towards Earth at least some of the time?

Re:Recharge batteries with laser (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37997544)

I suspect that if the panels have deployed and point at the earth, lack of power will be the least of their concerns. I base this on my experience from having a solar panel on my sailboat, which probably is several orders of magnitude cheaper and less efficient, but still generates 20-30 % of its maximum amps during cloudy days and when the sail and mast is blocking the sun. The light reflected from the earth must be enough to give them the power needed to salvage the spacecraft, if it can be done at all.

Dear god, no mention of the Leather Goddesses? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37999356)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leather_Goddesses_of_Phobos

I must be getting gold if this isn't the first thing someone thinks when they hear "Phobos."

Re:Dear god, no mention of the Leather Goddesses? (1)

JockTroll (996521) | more than 2 years ago | (#38000234)

I must be getting gold

Grow some Gary Kemp sideburns and you will be gold, true and through the barricades, loserboy nerd.

Sounds like... (1)

slapout (93640) | more than 2 years ago | (#38002308)

This sounds like the beginning of a bad scifi movie. You know, like the ones they used to show on that SyFy channel, until they started showing wrestling instead.

Actually, the Russian press release translates to: (1)

D4C5CE (578304) | more than 2 years ago | (#38002380)

Something's coming out of the transporters...

I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but... (1)

Sabathius (566108) | more than 2 years ago | (#38004478)

The last time we sent something to Phobos and Demos to try and scan them...it was mysteriously destroyed. The last image showed a strange saucer-shaped shadow, if I remember correctly.

Quake 3 (1)

rapidreload (2476516) | more than 2 years ago | (#38007118)

Am I the only one who read the words Phobos and Grunt like the announcer in Quake 3 when bots are joining a game?

Re:Quake 3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38011000)

Am I the only one who read the words Phobos and Grunt like the announcer in Quake 3 when bots are joining a game?

not the only one : >

What they're *really* curious about (1)

bobvious (1331503) | more than 2 years ago | (#38013702)

I can't help but believe that the real reason they're going to Phobos is to take a look at that "monument".
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