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Russian Official Implies Foul Play In Mars Probe Failure

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the stop-launching-space-junk dept.

Mars 451

Back in November, Russia launched the Phobos-Grunt probe on a mission to return a soil sample from Mars' largest moon. Sadly, the probe malfunctioned, and never left orbit. It's due to crash into the Indian Ocean this weekend. An anonymous reader points out some interesting comments from a Russian official, Vladimir Popovkin, who obliquely suggested that interference from other countries was a possible cause of the failure. Quoting: "Mr. Popovkin’s remarks to the newspaper Izvestia were the first high-level suggestion of nefarious interference. A retired commander of Russia’s missile warning system had speculated in November that strong radar signals from installations in Alaska might have damaged the spacecraft. 'We don’t want to accuse anybody, but there are very powerful devices that can influence spacecraft now,' Mr. Popovkin said in the interview. 'The possibility they were used cannot be ruled out.' ... Mr. Popovkin did not directly implicate the United States in the interview. But he said 'the frequent failure of our space launches, which occur at a time when they are flying over the part of Earth not visible from Russia, where we do not see the spacecraft and do not receive telemetric information, are not clear to us,' an apparent reference to the Americas."

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Simple solution...no more Russian taxis to ISS (4, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674102)

You want to fuck with us, fine. Build your own rocket, yankees.

Re:Simple solution...no more Russian taxis to ISS (3, Interesting)

alphatel (1450715) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674138)

We are talking about Russia where a significant portion of the residents still believe the moon landing was a fake [huffingtonpost.com] 40 years later.

Of course it would be remiss for anyone to rule out the US doing nasty things with technology, since they refuse to comment on anything but always turn up red-handed.

Re:Simple solution...no more Russian taxis to ISS (4, Informative)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674196)

And 6% of the American poulation [gallup.com] too.

Re:Simple solution...no more Russian taxis to ISS (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38674360)

Fox News and Wikipedia claim 20%, news at... er, anyway. And 25% of UK [cnn.com] .

Re:Simple solution...no more Russian taxis to ISS (1)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674498)

I trust a Gallup poll more than I do Fox News and Wikipedia quotes the same Gallup poll. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Simple solution...no more Russian taxis to ISS (2)

tmarsh86 (896458) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674580)

There needs to be a new Gallup poll. That one is more than 12 years old.

I call bullshit (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674614)

No press conference from K'Breel, speaker for the council ?!
Must not be true then.

Re:Simple solution...no more Russian taxis to ISS (5, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674204)

Basically the guy is blaming HAARP (it happened over Alaska when we couldn't see it).

Right. Now, how did we manage to get the satellite to point it's solar panels away from the sun [theregister.co.uk] ? It's just the standard post Vodka blame game. I don't think anyone is really worried about it.

Re:Simple solution...no more Russian taxis to ISS (3, Insightful)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674388)

Wait, Alaska is pretty damn close to Russian territory. How would they not not be able to see their satellite while it was over HAARP? An honest question, adblock doesn't seem to be letting me get past the paywall like it usually does, so I can't read TFA.

Re:Simple solution...no more Russian taxis to ISS (1)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674428)

I doubt they have equipment in the eastern part of Russia. Russia is basically made up of city islands (in my ignorant state of knowledge at least).

Re:Simple solution...no more Russian taxis to ISS (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674590)

Well, there's few people but I'm sure they have plenty listening installations and whatnot since it's their closest border to the US. It couldn't be that hard to add a dish pointing up to their satellites.

Re:Simple solution...no more Russian taxis to ISS (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38674732)

The horizon at a 50 mile altitude is 630 miles. Something could easily have line of sight on HAARP and not be visible from Russian territory.

That said ... come on, it's an ionospheric research instrument, for heaven's sake!

Re:Simple solution...no more Russian taxis to ISS (5, Funny)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674520)

Vladimir Putin (takes his shirt off and shakes fist at the sky): "DAMN YOU PALIN!!!"

Re:Simple solution...no more Russian taxis to ISS (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38674704)

Vladimir Putin (takes his shirt off and shakes fist at the sky): "DAMN YOU PALIN!!!"

Thats not the end of it either; Sarah Palin saw that from her house, and Todd got pretty upset at Putin's peacocking. Now Todd is eyeing Russia for a possible takeover by snowmobile. Their satellites don't stand a chance, they should just give them up now.

Re:Simple solution...no more Russian taxis to ISS (4, Insightful)

Artraze (600366) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674542)

> It's just the standard post Vodka blame game. I don't think anyone is really worried about it.

The problem is, tossing blame like this is the first refuge of incompetent government. The next is constructing enemies, and then finally war. Redirect the rage of the people you ruined to someone else, and rather then remove you from power they will grant you even more.

Given how Russia has been behaving recently this is very worrying. If they have to blame America because their probe is backwards, then what about when something bigger fails? How long before the people have a (renewed) hate of the USA?

It's not a step to a new cold war, but it disconcertingly similar to the behavior we saw then.

Re:Simple solution...no more Russian taxis to ISS (1)

twotacocombo (1529393) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674650)

How long before the people have a (renewed) hate of the USA?

It's not a step to a new cold war, but it disconcertingly similar to the behavior we saw then.

Did the Soviet "people" really hate the united states? Or just envy us. I don't remember seeing them burning pairs of Levi's or throwing cases of Coke into the harbor...

The same goes for pretty much every other country out there that 'hates' us too. Does the entire Iranian populace hate us? Do all the North Koreans hate us? Or is it just more convenient to believe that they do to make it easier when we start killing them...

Re:Simple solution...no more Russian taxis to ISS (4, Insightful)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674796)

Does the entire Iranian populace hate us? Do all the North Koreans hate us? Or is it just more convenient to believe that they do to make it easier when we start killing them...

No, you had it right the first time. The regime in those nations know that they can earn much more loyal support through (construction of) a common enemy than they can through any amount of good deeds (except perhaps the deed of constructing a free and democratic society, but i digress.) They do indeed cultivate hatred at every opportunity. You are correct that not everyone will fall for it, but enough of them will to generate the support the regime needs to do basically whatever they want. See Mccarthyism for an example, if you think construction of an enemy by any means necessary in order to garner supporters is a skill only dictatorial regimes posses. This is a tactic that nearly every government has used at some point, and as such it is very important not to downplay its presence or its effect.

Re:Simple solution...no more Russian taxis to ISS (5, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674604)

I wonder if he knows what he is getting into.

HAARP is the pet villain of practically every flavor of fun conspiracy lore there is. Weather control? Check. Mind Rays? Check. Communications with the Greys? Check. Interfering with Orgone flows to ensure the success of the fluoridation conspiracy? Check. Guiding black helicopters back to their spawning grounds to mate and reproduce? Check.

If he thinks that he can just waltz in and grab some time out of HAARP's very busy schedule to have it sabotaging his spacecraft, he has another thing coming. He'll have to fight for HAARP time with practically every conspiracy theorist out there...

Re:Simple solution...no more Russian taxis to ISS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38674630)

The retired missile warning system commander was blaming HAARP - somewhat to be expected from presumably old cold war hawk. Popovkin's comments about the incidents occurring "where we do not see the spacecraft and do not receive telemetric information" suggest something far more sinister, and as a current high-rankin official (taking into account also recent news of space-scientists passports being confiscated) raise questions about whose interests would be served by re-igniting the Cold War. Luckily, Russians seem to be able to see through these ploys [en.ria.ru] .

The Phobos-Grunt satellite itself is already experiencing drag of the atmosphere, and is thus expected to be in the position of least resistance to it. Whoever concluded that must also have been its orbit attitude didn't have a clue. Whether its attitude control was working can be debated a bit, as at this point it's unclear whether one should trust anything coming from the Russian space officials, but early on they claimed its sun tracking was working, and thus it would have maintained correct attitude. There have been no reports of observable tumbling from amateur observers, thus at least the part about it maintaining consistent attitude seem corroborated.

Re:Simple solution...no more Russian taxis to ISS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38674672)

This Idiot Should Retire.....Or .......He is Drinking Cheap Vodka.....The Reason That the Damn Thing Failed is Because they Programmed it in "Russian'' ...and as We All Know...Martian's Do Not Understand Russian....At Least that is what was told to Me by the Last Martian that I Talked Too.....Respectively Submitted "Captain Red Eye"

Re:Simple solution...no more Russian taxis to ISS (5, Interesting)

Remus Shepherd (32833) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674812)

point it's solar panels away from the sun?

Well, theoretically, a very strong radar pulse could cause ionization around the star sensors, which would make the spacecraft unable to tell which way was up and which was down. That would screw up the solar cell deployment pretty badly.

That's a crazy scenario, about on par with believing that reptiloids control Switzerland, but like all crazy theories there's a tenuous path of logic behind it.

Re:Simple solution...no more Russian taxis to ISS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38674246)

You can see the strings...

Re:Simple solution...no more Russian taxis to ISS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38674496)

In the defense of the U.S. under realpolitik you never comment on anything if you can avoid it. Let's say there was no intentional act here, but a fluke science experiment that was going on in Alaska that did this. Saying the U.S. didn't do it, but accidentally did would look bad.

Also you catch a country doing something red handed. Well, you tell everyone. Juicy gossip. You catch them doing... nothing. Just like they said? Who cares, borrrrrring. An actor wearing THAT?!? National news, ca-ching.

Re:Simple solution...no more Russian taxis to ISS (2)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674790)

You know, it will teach them to launch a probe when a SG team is incoming. we share with them the team schedule, they know when to hold launches.

Re:Simple solution...no more Russian taxis to ISS (1)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674524)

I'm sure on contributor to the conspiracies are Americans themselves. They communicate that it's a valid theory, so it's picked up.
Same with 9/11 attacks, a fair share of people in Pakistan believe it was the US government themselves, because Americans believe/consider that -- another example of Americans hurting themselves.

This discussion thread is weird -- one (ex-?)official hints towards something (maybe) and it's taken as the current Russian policy. Should the rest of the world take what those US president candidates say with equal weight?

Re:Simple solution...no more Russian taxis to ISS (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674634)

Should the rest of the world take what those US president candidates say with equal weight?

Yes. People in the US do, so you probably should as well. I know it's a scary proposition.

Re:Simple solution...no more Russian taxis to ISS (4, Insightful)

shoehornjob (1632387) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674698)

Think about this for a moment. What possible interest could the United States government have in a probe heading to Mars. We are not in a space race with Russia anymore. If anything we should be sabotaging China's space program. Then again if their space program is anything like their high speed rail program I think they can manage for themselves.

Re:Simple solution...no more Russian taxis to ISS (1)

scosco62 (864264) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674302)

And throw away a big piece of revenue? Doubtful.............

Well, obviously... (3, Funny)

DC2088 (2343764) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674148)

... Phobos Grunt? We all know what happens on Phobos when you get a grunt up there. IDDQD, Russia, IDDQD!

Re:Well, obviously... (1)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674220)

In Soviet Russia, Phobos Grunts you!

Re:Well, obviously... (1)

Fallingcow (213461) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674244)

Don't forget a little IDKFA.

Re:Well, obviously... (1)

DC2088 (2343764) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674282)

A little IDCLIP and you can just take a straight shot to Phobos without regard for any flight planning!

Re:Well, obviously... (2)

ifrag (984323) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674480)

Or, for the real elite playing the first Doom, "IDSPISPOPD"! "IDCLIP" didn't come along until Doom 2.

Malice? (5, Informative)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674160)

Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Re:Malice? (3, Insightful)

Nick Fel (1320709) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674198)

Yes, but the question is where does the stupidity lie? Is it in naively blasting out radar signals, or in not properly shielding your sensitive spacecraft? Probably both, but I'd favour the latter, since they know such possibilities exist.

Re:Malice? (4, Insightful)

iggymanz (596061) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674742)

Since HAARP has HF, VHF and UHF, and not satellite microwave systems, the stupidity is clearly on a Russian looking for a scapegoat, who has joined the ranks of scientifically ignorant wingnuts who blame HAARP for everything that was blamed on Satan and Witchcraft 400 years ago

Re:Malice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38674292)

In Soviet Russia official blames you!

Re:Malice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38674552)

Hanlon's razor.

Failure... (5, Insightful)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674172)

Russia should just admit to its failures, and move on. From what I've read, Russia's high-technology infrastructure is held together with band-aids® and chewing gum. They should concentrate upon repairing their space exploration foundation, then make the attempts to explore Mars.

Putin is taking russia back soviet style paranoia (4, Insightful)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674222)

And with that goes blaming everyone except yourself for your public failures.

Re:Failure... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38674224)

So what you're saying is, Russia saw MacGyver on TV and thought that's how US government agencies actually do things...

Come to think of it... that doesn't seem to far off given the current state of things...

Re:Failure... (4, Insightful)

Droog57 (2516452) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674300)

Yeah, you are probably right, but remember, the US is still reduced to renting a ride from the Russians to get a man into LEO now that we (stupidly) killed off the STS. Which one is the real failure? What an embarrassment, from "The Country that put a Man on the Moon" to equality with most developing nations..

Re:Failure... (2)

gumbi west (610122) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674722)

And getting people to LEO is great because... oh yeah...

  • 1) Get to LEO
  • 2) ???
  • 3) profit!

Re:Failure... (1)

hackertourist (2202674) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674780)

equality with most developing nations

Equality? There are no developing nations with as many launcher programs as the US.
Sure, there's no man-rated launcher at this moment, but that's a temporary setback. SpaceX is close to offering a man-rated launcher.

This bit is indeed thought-inducing (-1, Redundant)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674178)

But he said 'the frequent failure of our space launches, which occur at a time when they are flying over the part of Earth not visible from Russia, where we do not see the spacecraft and do not receive telemetric information, are not clear to us,' an apparent reference to the Americas.

Re:This bit is indeed thought-inducing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38674310)

If they can't make friends with antennas, is it really that hard to put boats in international waters to listen to their spacecraft over every part of the Earth?

yes (2)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674446)

the problem with these are, first of all you'll be hard pressed to maintain the same exact location on high ocean. you cant just drop anchor in a 8,000 m deep part of the ocean. so, the ship that carries the equipment to do the telemetry would need to be checking out its own location continually itself. and then it would need to compare this with the location received from the craft and analyze it. or send both to the central system (or whatever) they have to analyze it.

leaving that aside, any kind of weather conditions at the point the ship is would affect what you get. ranging from storms to overcast skies. these also affect land based systems, but land based systems do not need to seek evacuation from a storm - they just shut in most of the time. also, other land based locations would make up for reduced efficiency of the one afflicted - to do that in sea you need to keep many ships out, and it would be expensive. in addition, the frequency and mobility of storms for land based installations would be lower since a lot of land features stop or prevent storms (high mountains, different geographical areas) whereas a sea is an open environment in which storm can go anywhere depending on current and atmosphere.

Re:This bit is indeed thought-inducing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38674442)

Spacecraft, especially those destined for deep space, have very sensitive receivers and antennas. When they're close to the earth, such as during launch and low earth orbit these instruments can easily be damaged by high power RF signals from a variety of source. Significant effort is made, at least in the US space industry, to map these sources and appropriately protect the instruments, sometimes to include changes in the ascent and early orbit trajectory. The Russians know there is lots of high power RF coming out of certain locations in Alaska - has been for 50 years (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clear_Air_Force_Station). If they didn't take measures to secure their spacecraft in this known environment, then it's on them.

Re:This bit is indeed thought-inducing (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674510)

and why there are lots of high power RF coming out of alaska, a desolate place of the world, again ?

Re:This bit is indeed thought-inducing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38674620)

Because it's a good place to put missile warning radars if you're concerned about that sort of thing.

Re:This bit is indeed thought-inducing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38674652)

Exactly. /me rubs nose at you, knowingly.

Re:This bit is indeed thought-inducing (2)

iggymanz (596061) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674718)

it's a great place to put high power HF, VHF and UHF for probing atmosphere and van allen radiation belts, which is what HAARP is for. Every dumb ignorant wingnut blames HAARP for hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes....nice to see Russian official sink to that level of brainlessness.

Re:This bit is indeed thought-inducing (1)

SpzToid (869795) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674468)

He must be referring to the dark side of the Earth.

Re:This bit is indeed thought-inducing (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674690)

he is. the other side of the world, is closed to russians due to being anglo-american aligned. that's why nato has echelon stations in new zealand, whereas russia does not have a listening station in south africa.

Re:This bit is indeed thought-inducing (2)

MiniMike (234881) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674662)

But he said 'the frequent failure of our space launches, which occur at a time when they are flying over the part of Earth not visible from Russia, where we do not see the spacecraft and do not receive telemetric information, are not clear to us,' an apparent reference to the Americas.

It is thought inducing. Specifically:
1) Reference(s) please to 'frequent' failures without known explanation.
2) Most of the Earth is not visible from Russia. Are these 'frequent' failures all over the same part of the Earth, or is he playing with words?
3) Why do they not receive telemetric information there? They have other satellites to transmit to. A relay should not be difficult to establish. Are these things getting fried there, or could they download this data when the probe is back over Russia (or at least visible from Russia...) if they had saved the data? The probe under discussion is still in orbit- is it still communicating? The BBC article says it "went missing shortly after takeoff in November is due to crash land on Earth this weekend". I'm not sure how the BBC puts those conflicting details in the same sentence, but keep up the typical good work BBC.
4) Do they launch with different trajectories? What is the success rate of those launches?
5) A radar pulse powerful enough to fry a rocket would be detectable far beyond the vicinity of the rocket. Have they detected evidence of such a pulse? Have they failed to detect such evidence during a failed launch?
6) If their probe is not designed to withstand strong EM radiation, why are they a) launching it over a known source of strong EM radiation, b) sending it to Mars in the first place?
7) If it is known that the probe has design problems, and will probably fail its mission, sabotaging the launch is an excellent way to CYA.

Nothing to see here, move along. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38674770)

It's not thought-inducing at all. It's Russia being Russia. They have a history of covering up their failures or blaming the United States especially when it comes to space.

Most likely sabotage from the future. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38674180)

Most likely, someone came back in a time machine to sabotage the launch to prevent the return of samples to Earth that are contaminated with Martian Hemmorhagic Fever and save billions of people.

Re:Most likely sabotage from the future. (3, Funny)

Progman3K (515744) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674696)

I like your theory and would like to subscribe to your newsletter

Not even good lies (1)

roothog (635998) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674182)

'the frequent failure of our space launches, which occur at a time when they are flying over the part of Earth not visible from Russia, where we do not see the spacecraft and do not receive telemetric information, are not clear to us,'

We are to believe that the Russians are completely blind when the spacecraft are on the other side of the Earth? They have no satellites relaying telemetry? Laughable. (Apparently, so is their space program).

Re:Not even good lies (5, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674318)

Laughable. (Apparently, so is their space program)

Well it's not like their joke of a space program put up the first satellite in orbit, the first man (and woman) in space, the first person to orbit the earth, the first moon probe, the first Mars probe, the first Venus probe, or the first space station--or are currently the only country in the world with the capability of launching humans into space. They're SUCH a joke! Let's all laugh at their weak-ass space program. Ha ha ha.

Re:Not even good lies (1)

M1FCJ (586251) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674774)

They share the glory of launching humans into space with China at the moment. On the other hand, Russians don't have a good track record of creating a brand new design for a while. Kliper is dead, their shuttle did one flight and they haven't managed to design a single human-rated spacecraft since Soyuz and that was in 1960s. Sad fact: Both Russia and Western countries have stagnated.

It could have been aliens. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38674194)

The Russian official is referring to the HAARP array -- yes, the one in all the conspiracy theories about how the US is going to burn off the Earth's atmosphere -- and the history of the CIA sabotaging Russian projects during the Cold War. Until there's any evidence that happened in this case, he's just giving the engineer's opinion that CIA sabotage cannot be ruled out and/or he's talking out his ass. This is a non-story.

No (5, Insightful)

sandytaru (1158959) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674236)

When science from another country fails, it is still a tragedy to the US. We are not in a cold war any more - the loss of a sattelite, or a probe, is a huge loss for everyone. Russia may be upset but unfortunately it would not be in US interests to intentionally destroy a probe that we cannot ourselves replicate (due to lack of funds or lack of interest.)

Re:No (0)

DC2088 (2343764) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674252)

Right, and why the hell would the US be interested in cockblocking geological research?

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38674336)

target practice?

Re:No (4, Insightful)

GreatBunzinni (642500) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674412)

Because it would be research which the US would not need to fund, and therefore free funds to invest in other projects, and which could be used to help plan what to research next.

For example.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38674454)

If you're going to put up a spy satellite, and you know people will see the satellite, what do you say? You say its a "geological research" probe.

Re:No (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674534)

    Easy. Any country who gets more practice in at going into space will have the long term advantage. While many countries may be playing nicely now, you can be assured that not everything about how they're doing it, and what they learned while doing it, is going to be shared with their "friends".

    Getting something from Earth to Mars and back, is a pretty bid deal. Well, a *huge* deal, since no one has done it yet.

    The Russian "Mars 5NM" (planned for 1975 to 1979) failed. The Russian "Phoebos-Grunt" (2011) failed. The American "MRS" failed.

    The only samples we (any human) has are from the moon, asteroids, space dust, and meteorites that have crashed into the Earth.

    Sending successful launches and returns to Mars, or its moons, would signify a huge advance in our space technology. Repeated successful missions would be the precursors for human travel beyond our miniscule pocket of the universe that we lovingly know as home.

    Unfortunately, humans still have this drive to show that their nation is best. More effort is put into their tribe's attempt, and other tribes are monitored, but not substantially assisted with. For our species to expand, we must work together in such achievements. The only work together thus far has been token cooperation. We are still centuries away from true cooperation, and the way the tribes continue to act, even that may be an optimistic estimate.

Re:No (1)

esocid (946821) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674328)

There's also the possibility that it was our fault, and completely unintentional. If the signals from Alaska did in fact have any responsibility for the damage, I doubt anyone would come out and say "our bad."

Re:No (1)

tkrotchko (124118) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674410)

So if you think your rocket is crashing because the Eskimos are shooting HF beams at it, then don't fly rockets over Alaska.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38674506)

1) You are very naive to the intentions of both Russia and the US. Can you be 100% sure this probe wasn't ALSO carrying some spy equipment? Can you be 100% sure the US doesn't want to discredit Russia's space program for its own ends?
2) Yes. The US is all about the research. I remember a recent PBS special about a super-secret space race between the US and the USSR -- both nations putting people into orbit to take photos of the other. THE US IS RUN BY A BUNCH OF PEOPLE WHO ONLY WANT TO MAKE MONEY. They (we) have no other motive in anything we do -- EVER. If anything done by another nation even looks like it might someday impact some profits made by some US company then the US will screw with it. That was what the Cold War was all about. Freedom be damned, the USSR can't take our profits! (See: every war the US has ever been involved in.)

Re:No (1)

Progman3K (515744) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674758)

See every war ever

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38674592)

While I agree that it isn't in US interest to do such a thing, you can't ignore the fact that is in the US Corporate interest for all current state sponsored space programs to outright fail, implementing the long awaited private sector space monoply. It IS heading that way regardless of the next several years of successes, or failures.

Sabotage by US Government or Military? Highly doubtful. By US Corporation? Plausible.

HAARP? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38674248)

Maybe just poor coordination? I believe HAARP is supposed to notify local air traffic control when they are busy heating the upper ionosphere, maybe they aren't notifying the Russians? It is my understanding that this thing is the radio analog to a laser.

HAARP (4, Funny)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674250)

Maybe this also account for the 20 feet of snow Alaska is getting too.

Re:HAARP (4, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674364)

Maybe this also account for the 20 feet of snow Alaska is getting too.

Or maybe, just perhaps, it's winter time. In Alaska. You know, that cold, snowy place Up North. Tundra. Arctic Circle. Polar Bears.....

The Russians Always ignore the obvious (4, Funny)

tkrotchko (124118) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674276)

Whenever one is dealing with sending rockets to Mars, particularly Phobos, once has to take into account some pretty basic facts about Phobos:

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

Once you deal with that, then you can start blaming Eskimos in North America for downing your rocket.

Re:The Russians Always ignore the obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38674330)

Whenever one is dealing with sending rockets to Mars, particularly Phobos, once has to take into account some pretty basic facts about Phobos: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leather_Goddesses_of_Phobos [wikipedia.org]

K'Breel, Speaker for the Council, neither confirms nor denies these allegations :)

Or it could be math (2)

Sweeces (1246764) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674288)

"It's a feature of space launch trajectories that orbital adjustments must be made halfway around the first orbit to circularize and stabilize subsequent orbits," the article [foxnews.com]

What else is foul play? (2)

Threni (635302) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674314)

That submarine? Pipelines? The military planes which crash and burn at every air show in the world?

Russia still can't get over the fact that, in terms of being some sort of global player they're about as important as Spain. They didn't have any problems when they were sealing dogs in rockets and bunging them into orbit - that's about their level.

Re:What else is foul play? (1)

inviolet (797804) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674528)

That submarine? Pipelines? The military planes which crash and burn at every air show in the world?

Russia still can't get over the fact that, in terms of being some sort of global player they're about as important as Spain. They didn't have any problems when they were sealing dogs in rockets and bunging them into orbit - that's about their level.

I am amused to report that they couldn't even handle that. Laika was accidentally killed very very early in the flight. The rest of her time aboard the capsule, and the gentle story of her demise, was all fiction.

One of my co-workers is Russian ... (5, Interesting)

timholman (71886) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674326)

One of my co-workers is Russian, and he still keeps in touch with friends and family back home. We've been discussing the recent anti-government protests in Moscow, and he says that the government-controlled media (which includes all of TV and radio, and many of the newspapers) has gone into overdrive accusing the U.S. for being behind almost everything that's currently going wrong in Russia. In his words, "Blaming America is all they have left."

Implying that the U.S. is responsible for their spacecraft failure is just part of that game. Russia has been launching spacecraft for decades, and it is silly to think that they didn't learn how to deal with contingencies such as deliberate jamming long ago.

and they are right ? (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674642)

We've been discussing the recent anti-government protests in Moscow, and he says that the government-controlled media (which includes all of TV and radio, and many of the newspapers) has gone into overdrive accusing the U.S. for being behind almost everything that's currently going wrong in Russia.

hasnt it recently leaked that u.s. secret services were behind orchestrating the 'arab spring' that happened around middle east - which hit all of the countries that had u.s. unfriendly governments, but conveniently skipped u.s. backers like jordan, saudi arabia (the hellhole), bahrain and so on ? the minor protest that ensued at the end of all arab spring in bahrain was suppressed violently by saudi arabian forces which bahrain govt. requested. but nothing happened. in contrast, entire arab spring started from a single street salesman burning himself in tunusia ?

i dont think it necessitates any explanation now. we have discussed innumerable articles with news on how the u.s. secret services were using social media, internet as a weapon against unfriendly countries in slashdot.

you can rest assured that there is some u.s. friendly clique that is funded by u.s. in russia, just like how there was the muslim brotherhood, an u.s. backed islamist organization, behind ALL the 'revolutions' in all the arab countries, without exception ; they were working for it for 10 years in libya. they were the main force behind egypt's. and in both cases they immediately called for sharia law and also moved to appease certain u.s. interests with awards of contracts.

unfortunately it is a dirty world.

Re:One of my co-workers is Russian ... (2)

squidflakes (905524) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674728)

I too have some Russian friends, and by virtue of where I live, they are all part of or work for companies that support the space industry.

This is why I'm constantly bothered by all of the comments about Russian abilities, and how they are inept and somehow backwards when it comes to high technology.

Just because the Russians don't spend millions to develop some whiz-bang technology to do something in space a certain way that can already be accomplished by other means doesn't make them backwards. The whole anecdote about the Americans spending time and money to develop a pen that could write in space versus the Russians who just used pencils may be just a story, but it serves as an excellent illustration in the difference in approaches.

Russian technology just works. It may be big, it may be inelegant, but it gets the job done. When it breaks, you don't throw it out, you fix it.

Hell, in Estonia in 2007 some locals noticed old tank ruts leading in to a lake, and after some diving they discovered a buried Soviet T-34 tank of WW2 vintage. They were able to recover the tank from the water, found that it had German markings (the Germans put a premium on captured T-34s), drained the water, cleaned the silt out, and after some maintenance, were able to start the engine.

THAT is built to last.

More plausible explanation (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38674332)

Attempting the most ambitious interplanetary mission ever with low budget, insufficient testing and no recent interplanetary flight experience.

Medvedev threatened prosecution (5, Interesting)

Morty (32057) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674368)

Russian President Medvedev threatened to prosecute those responsible for the space failures [msn.com] . No surprise that the individuals in question are now looking to blame someone else.

Re:Medvedev threatened prosecution (5, Interesting)

inviolet (797804) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674550)

Russian President Medvedev threatened to prosecute those responsible for the space failures [msn.com] . No surprise that the individuals in question are now looking to blame someone else.

Yeah, THAT will sure attract new talent to their space program! Alex, I'll take Perverse Incentives for 500 rubles, please!

And never mind the equally important point that the current team at least learned something and won't repeat this particular mistake again. Can't say that for the new team.

Interference is probable, but on purpose? (1)

pryoplasm (809342) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674380)

Interference among the RF spectrum occurs all the time. I don't doubt that something some country or another has done could interfere with it. Now whether it was the US, China, or some other organization, it still might be accidental.

It's all my fault. (2)

dmesg0 (1342071) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674382)


On Nov 9, 2011 I unintentionally pointed my new 5mw green laser pen into the sky.
Sorry Phobos-Grunt, I didn't see you there.

Why don't we help them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38674394)

Perhaps we should help them to have communications with their birds all the way around the earth.

The French killed Mars Climate Orbiter (1)

BLToday (1777712) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674404)

I blame the failure of the Mars Climate Orbiter on the French insistence of forcing the world to go metric. "The metric system is the tool of the devil! My car gets 40 rods to the hogshead and that's the way I likes it."

The Cold War mentality again (5, Informative)

Maimun (631984) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674420)

During the Cold War, every single failure of the USSR was due to some external enemy (or internal enemy, being an agent of some external enemy).

Regrettably, the russians have gone back to that silly Cold War mentality. Their own propaganda tells them constantly that they are unique, superior to the others, and surrounded by vile enemies that miss no chance to do harm to russia. Recall that when their submarine Kursk exploded and sank, the first instinctive reaction of the regime and its propaganda was to blame a US sub for colliding with, and thus sinking, Kursk.

Re:The Cold War mentality again (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38674560)

Have you talked to a Russian lately?

aaaaaah, historically (3, Informative)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674678)

Their own propaganda tells them constantly that they are unique, superior to the others, and surrounded by vile enemies that miss no chance to do harm to russia

that was exactly the case. the moment revolution happened in russia, the leader of the FREE world, great britain, landed with 18 other 'free' countries to suppress the 'rebellion' of the people and reinstate tzar and aristocracy in russia.

when they failed, they withdrew their military forces, and this time started to fund the white russians (Royalists) with arms and gold. to kill their own countrymen. when they were beaten too, they started to set up alliances and surround the country, leading to the cold war. the only intermediate pause was in between 2 world wars, and that was thanks to nazis.

Re:aaaaaah, historically (1)

HBI (604924) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674798)

The problem with the Soviet Union was always that it believed in International Communism - no comment being made on their adherence or lack thereof to true Marxist thought. They had a firm belief (at least in the early days) that they were on the leading edge of a world-dominating wave, and had a strong interest in making it happen through espionage and overt encouragement of movements in other nations.

Under those circumstances, regardless of how many 'peace' organizations the Soviets had*, they were an existential threat to all other nations. They should have expected no less.

* The 'peace' organizations were also part of the overall Soviet strategy of trying to look inoffensive while trying to topple governments and extend their power.

Re:The Cold War mentality again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38674748)

I work with an engineer from Russia. He worked there during the cold war. If something failed the engineer resposible would get a visit from the KGB. Next stop, Siberian Goolog. He is very careful about his circuit disigns.

Re:The Cold War mentality again (2)

mike449 (238450) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674750)

Regrettably, the russians have gone back to that silly Cold War mentality. Their own propaganda tells them constantly that they are unique, superior to the others, and surrounded by vile enemies that miss no chance to do harm to russia.

Don't speak for all russians. Hysterical propaganda is usually the sign that the population becomes difficult to control and has opinions that the propaganda is desperately trying to change.

It's always (1)

aglider (2435074) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674472)

someone else's responsibility!
That's childish!

And we depend on these guys to get to ISS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38674700)

Yikes!

one word: Uzbeks. (1)

swschrad (312009) | more than 2 years ago | (#38674784)

Uzbeks drank all the battery fluid. (c) SCTV

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