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Japanese Mars Probe Failing

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the warranty-expired dept.

Space 242

Anonymous Coward writes "After months of silence and a week of hopeful half-truths, Japanese space officials have finally confirmed that their Mars-bound Nozomi probe is teetering on the brink of failure in its five-year quest to explore the Red Planet. The Nozomi orbiter is one of four spacecraft that are due to converge on Mars in the next two months. The other three probes -- the European Space Agency's Mars Express and NASA's two Mars Exploration Rovers -- are still on track and in good working order, according to the latest status reports. Mars Express is due to enter Martian orbit on Christmas Day and send a British-built Beagle 2 lander to the surface, while the NASA rovers should arrive on Jan. 3 and Jan. 24."

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two in a row? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7533065)

I doubt I'm that awesome...

Re:two in a row? (-1)

Fecal Troll Matter (445929) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533112)

You are. And I want you to be gay with me.

the question is... (5, Funny)

zr-rifle (677585) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533073)

...will it commit harakiri?

Re:the question is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7533122)

The japaneses hide the auto-destruction's button.

They prefer the option of to orbit or to crash.

They don't prefer the option of to go out of the orbit's way nand to auto-destruct.

Why the half-truths?

open4free

Re:the question is... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7533234)

I dont know why ive been holding this off, but here goes, I love you, zr-rifle! I love you with all my soul and heart! I want to marry you and one day, have little zr-rifle's running around, and live happily ever after! Please, dont forsake me, I promise to be good! Will you accept my offer? All I ever wanted to do was to make you happy. Please say yes, if not for yourself, then for all of humanity!

Re:the question is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7533309)

Sure, sounds like a plan.

Re:the question is... (1)

macdaddy357 (582412) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533386)

Jokes about a probe to uranus in 5... 4... 3...

Interesting (4, Funny)

nocomment (239368) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533491)

I guess I'll just stick with their VCR's and TV's.

Conspiracy theory anyone? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7533074)

Maybe I listen to Art Bell too much, but it seems pretty strange that so many probes to Mars have failed in some fashion. Perhaps the Martians don't want us messing up their planet?

You may be right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7533089)

They may have Weapons of Mass Destruction. Maybe they've got oil, too.

I think we should launch a full scale nuclear assault on Mars as soon as possible.

Re:You may be right (1)

stripe (680068) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533132)

Nuke Mars? I think the best course of action is to steer as many comets as possible into collisions with Mars. We then destroy all Martians and increase the amount of water/ice to make it habitable for us at the same time. :)

Re:You may be right (1)

kippy (416183) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533202)

This is probably a crazy troll but the comet thing is still a while off technologically speaking. Flinging them into the atmosphere to burn up would probably be the way to go so it doesn't kick up a 200 year dust storm and cool the planet even more.

As for nukes, I've read proposals that include nuking one or both poles for some quick, cheap heat and atmosphere. sounds pretty cool to me.

Re:You may be right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7533278)

As for nukes, I've read proposals that include nuking one or both poles for some quick, cheap heat and atmosphere. sounds pretty cool to me.


Yeah, because we really need more heat and atmosohere.. GJ.

Re:You may be right (0, Offtopic)

Uber Banker (655221) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533137)

No no no! WMD is just another way of saying they have oil. No way we're going to radiate all that oil. Better we use conventional force (young redneck males enrolled in the army) to further our USA-corp greed and USA-leader's power trip.

OT semantics (0, Offtopic)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533181)

WMD is just another way of saying they have oil.

Ya know, technically, the sept11 attacks used plane fuel (a derivative of crude oil) as a weapon of mass destruction. With that insane logic, Iraq did have WMD and the facilities associated with it.

Of course, Dubbya specifically mentioned nerve gas, bio and nuclear (well, nucular, actually), so that invalidates my semantics, but still...

Re:Conspiracy theory anyone? (1)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533136)

Or maybe it's a LONG FUCKING WAY to Mars?

Possibly?

Oh, and you DO listen to Art Bell too much, if this is the result of it.

Re:Conspiracy theory anyone? (4, Insightful)

mikerich (120257) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533140)

Maybe I listen to Art Bell too much, but it seems pretty strange that so many probes to Mars have failed in some fashion. Perhaps the Martians don't want us messing up their planet?

Or maybe Mars is a long way away and it's really hard to build a machine that can be expected to work for months on end whilst being baked and simultaneously frozen after being placed in a vacuum and bombarded with radiation. Then to put this complicated device on top of hundreds of tonnes of high explosive so that you can get it moving fifteen times faster than a rifle bullet with the objective of placing it somewhere near a body only slightly larger than the Moon?

Best wishes,
Mike.

Re:Conspiracy theory anyone? (3, Interesting)

ThisIsFred (705426) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533407)

Not to mention that no one really has the funds to build the super-probes of yesteryear, so this is unfortunately going to happen with greater frequency. Even looking back at the historic Mars missions where the US sent those super-probes, two out of eight failed before reaching Mars. This shows us that it really has nothing to do with Mars, it's a difficult feat to send probes to Mars even with gobs of cash to spend, and it is no less difficult now than it was decades ago.

Re:Conspiracy theory anyone? (1)

DragonWyatt (62035) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533420)

Wait a minute, don't we have math and engineering to deal with all those problems (we certainly did in the 60's and 70's)?

But [astronomynow.com] the [cnn.com] units [wired.com] matter [slashdot.org] .

Is it just me, or does anyone else detect a sloppiness in our current program that didn't exist before? Maybe it's a symptom of the "Me! Now!" generation-X (and now gen-Y) attitude (disclaimer: I'm not even 30 yet).

Re:Conspiracy theory anyone? (1)

Mukaikubo (724906) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533448)

Sure we know how to deal with them. It's called, "More and more layers of redundancy". Unfortunately, more redundancy means more cost and more weight, which translates to even more cost. And in the space-affairs budget environment since the mid-80s, the money's not there. Learn to deal with a 50% failure rate, as opposed to the 25% one of years gone by.

Re:Conspiracy theory anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7533454)

Bravo. Well put!

Re:Conspiracy theory anyone? (3, Funny)

ultramk (470198) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533180)

Two points:

1. If you even know who Art Bell is, then you listen too much.

2. Mars is a very long way away. A Very, Very long way away. It's moving, too, at a good clip. This distance allows more to go wrong on the way than going somewhere closer, like the moon, by an exponential factor. ...and why, yes, this is rocket science.

(One more reason why Mars is no place to raise a kid. Ooooo, I'm channeling Shatner!)

m-

Re:Conspiracy theory anyone? (1)

mikeswi (658619) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533190)

Nah.... It's the Europans pissed that we didn't go there first. They'll shoot down one probe per year until we meet their demands (an off ramp to Europa on the interplanetary spaceway next to a MickeyD's).

Re:Conspiracy theory anyone? (1)

uncoveror (570620) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533372)

That is exactly it! It does not matter if the probe is from the US, Japan, Russia, the EU, or China. The Zhti Ti Kofft [uncoveror.com] have had enough of Earth's snooping.

Re:Conspiracy theory anyone? (1)

boy_afraid (234774) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533496)

Art Bell and his guest are right, even Richard Hoagland!

What's the point? (4, Funny)

Typingsux (65623) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533077)

The Martians are now wise to us and will just shoot the rest down. That's what has happened to all the others.

Re:What's the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7533187)

The parent was modded insighful???!!!

Jesus, the I knew some of you nuts were paranoid, but I think you've been watching too much of the all news channels if you're this sketchy.

Re:What's the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7533199)

HOW THE FUCK IS THAT INSIGHTFUL. way to go, mods. yes, there really are martians and pointing out that they have learned to shoot our probes down with "lay-zers" is a remarkable insight.

Re:What's the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7533243)

This comment is actually funnier with it moderated as insightful.

I can just imagine some totally crazy person reading that comment in their bathtub filled with tinfoil and say to themself "This Typingsux person makes a very good point +Insightful to you wise man of men. Now, BACK to my ENEMIES LIST, looks you made it two years in a row Mr. Bugs Bunny, well done!"

Re:What's the point? (1)

RabidStoat (689404) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533261)

Of course their real secret weapon is to confuse our scientists into using different measuring systems to calculate orbital/entry type information. They don't even need to waste any energy shooting the probes down, we burn them up for them !

You know they're reading this laughing at us don't you?!

this proves it... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7533081)

chinks dont belong in outerspace.

Re:this proves it... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7533114)

chinks dont belong in outerspace. ... which I'm sure is exactly what Imperial Japan would have said back when they invaded China in WWII. Wannabe racist twit.

Re:this proves it... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7533154)

coward. sums it up really.

and, fyi, japanese are not chinese. oh well redneck. better off you die in a war and save humanity your stupidity.

YOU POMPOUS ASS (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7533191)

fyi, japanese are not chinese. oh well redneck. better off you die in a war and save humanity your stupidity.

chincs and nips are pretty much the same. The little yellow devils all come from the same original pool of piss. Unlike you who, no doubt, rose from a steaming pile of shit.

Real contamination risk would be small (4, Interesting)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533085)

From the article:
Friday's JAXA statement denied one Tokyo press report that probe was doomed to impact Mars and possibly contaminate the planet. Such a scenario would violate an international "space quarantine" treaty.

I know we've had a lot of cool reports that microbes have survived exposure to hard vacuum for extended periods, but do we really have to worry about "contaminating" Mars? The craft was probably sterilized pretty well before being launched. Then, a year and a half ago, it got hit with a solar flare strong enough to make it miss Mars the first time... that should have baked any hitchiking bugs pretty well. And then, there's the latest round of Solar hiccups to take into account.

Finally, if the craft does hit Mars, it's going to do it in a totally uncontrolled manner -- 'cause if they get any control, they'll steer it away. That implies a high velocity, which even in the thin Martian atmosphere should melt the craft into slag.

Extremophile bacteria at molten sulfur vents is one thing, but hitchiking in a blob of ablating steel?

And as far as that "space quarantine" treaty... what exactly is the punishment for sneezing in space?

Re:Real contamination risk would be small (3, Insightful)

kippy (416183) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533174)

Yeah, I raised my eyebrow when I read that too. What I thought was funny was how they mentioned Mars Express is due to enter Martian orbit on Christmas Day and send a British-built Beagle 2 lander to the surface, while the NASA rovers should arrive on Jan. 3 and Jan. 24

So they are worried about a man made meteor seeding the planet but sending rovers to the surface is somehow alright???

hey, if we do "contaminate" the surface, that will save genetic engineers a lot of trouble if we ever try to terraform. "space quarantine treaty", now there's a treaty we've got to get rid of.

Re:Real contamination risk would be small (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7533216)

>>So they are worried about a man made meteor >>seeding the planet but sending rovers to the >>surface is somehow alright???

By Jove i think you've got it! Not.

The japanese probe was never intended to touch down so was never decontaminated.

The laders were intended to reach the surface, and so were decontaminated appropriately.

Re:Real contamination risk would be small (1)

kalidasa (577403) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533478)

The japanese probe was never intended to touch down so was never decontaminated. The landers were intended to reach the surface, and so were decontaminated appropriately.

Folks, pile some mod points on the anonymous coward parent posting (quoted above). This is exactly the point.

Re:Real contamination risk would be small (1, Insightful)

jdray (645332) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533374)

I think the "contamination" they don't want is typically referred to (terrestrially) as "litter." I understand that (thanks quite a bit to the Russian program, but also to "just leave it here" Americans) the moon is quite littered with a bunch of junk that either didn't work or doesn't any more. Biocontaminant or not, trying to do geologic science and having to move aside slagged lander parts that drilled into Tharsis to do it would be a little annoying...

Re:Real contamination risk would be small (1)

Verteiron (224042) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533183)

Extremophile bacteria at molten sulfur vents is one thing, but hitchiking in a blob of ablating steel?

I don't know, these guys [slashdot.org] seemed to do okay... and they're probably a lot more delicate than some bacteria.

Contamination risk would be real (4, Insightful)

Spamalamadingdong (323207) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533184)

I don't suppose you've heard of common earth organisms like Deinococcus Radiourans? This bug has such potent DNA-repair mechanisms that it survives very heavy irradiation (it apparently evolved them to recover from DNA damage during long periods of dryness, but they work for radiation-induced breakages too). And substantial parts of a spacecraft survive even an uncontrolled atmospheric entry; look at how much of Columbia came down, including large pieces of astronauts.

If someone sterilized the bird with something like chlorine monoxide it's a different matter, but I've seen nothing about this and an orbiter wouldn't normally need to be sterilized like a lander. That's why Galileo met its fiery end.

Offtopic, your sig (0, Troll)

aliens (90441) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533227)

I thought the same exact thing. Then I remembered oh wait I live in the US, same place that now has the Terminator as a major political entity.

It really is disturbing. "Huge Terrorist bombing in Turkey, BUT who cares! Jacko is wacking off lil boys again!"

Made me really sick to my stomach. I guess if it's not 3000 people and happening in our country Bin Laden doesn't matter worth a shit. I'm sure some families in Turkey are glad their country is allied with the United States right now.

Re:Real contamination risk would be small (5, Interesting)

snake_dad (311844) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533240)

Bacteria survived being on the moon for years. Parts from (IIRC) a Surveyor probe were brought back by an Apollo mission. Granted, these bacteria were found inside an instrument, but since the Japanese probe may shatter on impact there is a contamination risk, I think.

About the reentry, I'm not sure it will burn up completely. Meteorites crashing on Earth are said to be warm, not scalding hot. Could some rocket scientist jump in and give his view on the reentry? Metal vs stone, Earth vs Mars atmosphere? (Hmm.. re-entry sounds wrong. It's going to enter the Mars atmosphere for the first time)

Hard lines (2, Funny)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533088)


The chances of anything getting to Mars,
Are a million to one
In this case, it spun.
... right out of control. Isn't this the one that came to close to a comet ? They thought it would be ok, but I guess not :-(

Pity - the more craft we send there, the more we'll all learn.

Simon.

Re:Hard lines (1)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533109)

Aah. I see from the poster above that it was a solar flare. Far more likely than a comet :-)

Simon

Re:Hard lines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7533376)

For a second there I thought I was reading haiku.

I see (4, Funny)

Joe the Lesser (533425) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533090)

So hopefully the British rover will have tea ready for us when we get there. Jolly good.

Re:I see (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7533117)

And the American ones a couple of dripping Big Macs, god damn. See, that wasn't funny, was it? Idiot.

Re:I see (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7533151)

Who drinks tea with their Big Mac? Supersize that sumbitch and get an 80-gallon Coke and a garbage bag fulla fries.

Now that's a lunch.

Re:I see (1)

baileytal (692920) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533297)

A lunch for Jabba The Hutt, maybe! Who lived on Tattooine! A long time ago! Not Mars at Christmastime! Maybe...

Get real!

Re:I see (-1, Offtopic)

TRACK-YOUR-POSITION (553878) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533192)

HOLY POOP YOU MENTIONED AN AMERICAN FOOD WITH DISAPPROVAL NOW I HATE YOU!!!!!!! its a good thing u r anonymous coward because u do not want 2 mess with my SUPER AMERICA MILITARY powers

How the?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7533425)

Heck did the parent get modded up insightful?!

Re:I see (5, Funny)

D-Cypell (446534) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533402)

Sure, laugh at us!

Do you have any idea how much of the great british public's tax money went on the research required to get water boil correctly in those kind of inhospitable conditions...

Not to mention the whole earl grey vs english breakfast fiasco!

Re:I see (1)

reality-bytes (119275) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533430)

Not to mention the reasearch into curing the Willow for our cricket bats to survive the martian atmosphere.

These people have no idea.............

Maybe China should chip in (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7533092)

They spent the whole $2B Japan (mostly) subsidized them this year on a space program, while they're living on international handouts. Time to give back to the people who actually paid for it.

Re:Maybe China should chip in (1, Interesting)

Uber Banker (655221) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533254)

I do not understand the term "$2B Japan" is not USD. Do you mean yen the equivalent of USD2bn or YEN2bn (and don't know what Japanese currency is)?

Besides, you seem to be arguing economics and are also mentioning China.

Firstly China != Japan

Secondly, Chine has been buying US government debt at a large rate in the last year. This creates demand for USD which increases the price of USD. Yes, China has been subsidising the US economy (buying the US government's debt means providing financing the Bush budget deficit). US government expenditure is subsidised by China (and other Asian economies too). If these countries did not want to buy US government debt it means the demand for USD would fall, therefore the value of the USD (a function of demand and supply) would fall, i.e., the USD would cost less in overseas currencies, meaning anything bought from overseas would cost more. Increased import costs are not good for the US economy because the US (being a developed economy) benefits most from value-added (adding quality) to goods and services so it sells rather than consumer. If the currency falls that means it sells for less.

Please feel free to reply to this to discuss economics, since the vast majority of 'economics' discussed on /. is not economics but flawed opinion.... I am happy to add something back from the economics geekdom to the tech geekdom as i truely don't like to see prejudice masked up as expert opinion (any economics discussion on /. seems to degenerate to prejudice opinion).

Re:Maybe China should chip in (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7533310)

China spent US$2B on their space program.

Japan subsidized them around US$2B. There were some other countries who chipped in, but Japan paid the bulk of it.

I think by referring to them differently, I demonstrated that I understand that China != Japan.

Re:Maybe China should chip in (1, Interesting)

Uber Banker (655221) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533476)

They spent the whole $2B Japan (mostly) subsidized them this year on a space program, while they're living on international handouts. Time to give back to the people who actually paid for it.

Let us deconstrust this:

"They spent the whole $2B Japan (mostly) subsidized them this year on a space program," "they" and "them". This is your opening sentence but your "they" and "them" are undefined. Is China or Japan the subject and is China or Japan the object of your sentence, if so which way round?

"while they're living on international handouts." Neither Japan (a prosperous nation albeit in some short term economic woes) nor China (which has bought much of recent US government debt, and is by far subsidising the US government and has a vast international monetary surplus) is being subsidised. The country being most subsidised in the world, at the moment, is the USA.

"Time to give back to the people who actually paid for it." So who paid for it? The Japanese taking a commerical interest in a small minority of Chinese companies? The international investor [read Western European and North American] by pumping investment into Chinese companies and investment vechiles? The US and European governments selling their debt (this is the opposite of taking an interest, it is taking a liability)?

No doubt you know China!=Japan (and my reply was deliberatly patronising, though it is a shame you are coward enough not to show a UID).

But "Time to give back to the people who actually paid for it."???? If you mean give money to Japan then remember Japan have not volunteered this money, they have commercially invested and should take the hit if their investment does not pay off (and of course should be allowed to take the reward if it does). This has been a matter of few years in which time it is silly to expect repatriation of income. IMHO China is genuinely appreciative to accept international investment as it brings with it international expertise, something China needs.

China has not defaulted on its debt (unlike most of S.America or Russia), is showing strong growth and is followwing fair international trade laws (more so than the US). Yes it needs to develop its internal competitiveness and raise more of its population from poverty and develop a more democratic government. Tis cannot be done overnight but steady steps are being taken.

As far as repaying debt goes, China has a faultless record. Surely your post was a troll?

if its (2, Funny)

OwlofCreamCheese (645015) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533095)

if its martians shooting them down... martians suck! these things take 5 years to get there! the hit like one out of 10 things we send! who can't aim well enough to hit something when you have 5 years to try?

how much do they cost? (1)

chevelleSS (594683) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533111)

How much does the average Mars space probe cost?

No, it's "how much does a Martian earn?"... (1)

ErnstKompressor (193799) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533241)

Answer: Nothing, cause they got no pockets...

Re:how much do they cost? (2, Informative)

tarquin_fim_bim (649994) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533472)

The European 'Mars Express' probe has a budget of 150 000 000 euros.

Its all gone!!! (2, Funny)

t0ny (590331) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533118)

Everything we send to Mars disappears. Im starting to get scared...

Re:Its all gone!!! (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533208)

Sort of a green flare with a green mist trailing behind it. Mission Control, are you getting this? [beep] [beep]...

OooooooLaaaaaaaah!

Contamination? (4, Interesting)

Meat Blaster (578650) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533119)

I'm starting to wonder if we should be sending all these probes out without any chance of recovery or destruction. While it's probable there isn't any other sentient life out there, it's also probable that our efforts to explore our surroundings are affecting or destroying living and non-living celestial evidence.

I keep thinking about those fish that live in caves that we believed were blind from birth, but were actually blinded by our observations, which required orders of magnitude of light more than they were ever accustomed to. Who knows how much Earth biology survives in these probes when they crash land?

Maybe we should put a halt to sending out any more of these things for now and work more on passive observation techniques.

Re:Contamination? (1)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533236)

Some of first manned missions to Mars will pick them and put them in "Museum of Conquest of Mars".

Re:Contamination? (1)

srobring (577646) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533265)

If we are ever going to explore space, we will eventually have to send out probes. It would be great if we could treat Mars as a crime scene, and take care not to upset anything we don't mean to, but a space probe isn't exactly a surgical instrument.

The best we could do is be as careful as we can with Mars, perfect our skills now, and learn from our mistakes with the next planet.

Most likely, we'll infect the entire Solar System, and chalk the space program up to biological warfare against all those pesky aliens. (serves them right)

Re:Contamination? (1)

TheLittleJetson (669035) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533291)

I'm starting to wonder if we should be sending all these probes out without any chance of recovery or destruction. While it's probable there isn't any other sentient life out there, it's also probable that our efforts to explore our surroundings are affecting or destroying living and non-living celestial evidence.

Well, with the Japanese craft heading towards early demise, it'll be a few more years before we see the red planet contaminated with sanrio characters. [sanrio.co.jp]

-m

Re:Contamination? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7533355)

You've got to play big to win big.

While it's probable there isn't any other sentient life out there, it's also probable that our efforts to explore our surroundings are affecting or destroying living and non-living celestial evidence.

They can't BOTH be probable. I doubt that the places our probes crash/land are the only places where evidence of life exists. However that would be an amusing irony.

It reminds me a bit of this Lunar Lander [216.239.57.104] precursor.

Also I think those fish are apocryphal.

I'll bet $10 on the Beagle 2 (0)

kclittle (625128) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533131)

"The other three probes -- the European Space Agency's Mars Express and NASA's two Mars Exploration Rovers -- are still on track and in good working order, according to the latest status reports. Mars Express is due to enter Martian orbit on Christmas Day and send a British-built Beagle 2 lander to the surface, while the NASA rovers should arrive on Jan. 3 and Jan. 24."

oooo! BattleBots on Mars! Yea, baby!

-k

Someone needs to tell there designers (0, Troll)

Bendebecker (633126) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533143)

You fail it!

you no spell good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7533186)

learn to spell more right.

you am not too good at it now. it made you to look foolish when you spell wrong words.

Re:Someone needs to tell there designers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7533322)

What do there [there.com] designers have to do with Mars?

Probe Redundancy (4, Insightful)

MonkeyCookie (657433) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533168)

At least there's quite a bit of redundancy with the martian probes. With four going there at once it's quite likely that at least one of them will get there.

The martian probe success rate is so bad that maybe space agencies should launch multiple smaller ones with the expectancy that some will fail to reach their destination than put all their hopes on one larger probe.

Re:Probe Redundancy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7533233)

Somewhere on Mars, there is a Martian playing "Huuman Invaders". Each wave is bigger than the previous and moves faster.

Re:Probe Redundancy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7533284)

maybe space agencies should launch multiple smaller ones

Why do you think there are four in the first place? That's been NASA's Mars philosophy (heck, everywhere philosophy) for everything since Cassini.

cool (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7533193)

got enough to pay the rent
you're the coolest there is in town
pumping ipod while jogging around
elitest snob with 40gig of sound
spent five hundred just another dumb snook
sold your soul to the biggest corporations on the books
micro-soft starbucks mcdonalds list them down
elitest snob with 40gig of sound
drink that coffee drink it down

When? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7533206)

When will we stop sending probes and start sending missiles?!!

This wouldn't happen... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7533207)

if they used Yoda dolls for their probes

Still fingers crossed for Mars Express (4, Interesting)

mikerich (120257) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533218)

Mars Express [esa.int] has to perform one VERY important maneuvre. On December 19th it must eject the Beagle 2 [open.ac.uk] lander whilst still travelling at interplanetary velocity.

If Mars Express fails to shoot Beagle 2 into space, the retro-engine will not have enough thrust to brake Mars Express into Martian orbit. Both probes would then fly past the planet and into solar orbit.

Beagle 2 then travels through space for six days before hitting the Martian atmosphere at interplanetary velocity. Beagle 2's onboard transmitter will not come to life until the probe impacts the surface, so you can imagine that those six days will be pretty tense for the ESA teams.

All being well, Beagle 2 and Mars Express should arrive at their destinations safe and well in the small hours of Christmas morning. By the time we're opening our presents here in the UK, they should have received a signal from the Martian surface.

So, here's hoping!

Best wishes,
Mike.

Re:Still fingers crossed for Mars Express (0, Troll)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533446)

Could someone explain that -1 troll moderation on this?

c'mon guys... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7533248)

it's not like this is brain surgery!
[off to the brain surgery forum... "c'mon guys...it's not like this is rocket science!"]

Reliability (1)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533249)

Wow...and here I was thinking a Lexus or a Honda was a well put together reliable car. But NO, they can't even make a probe that lasts longer than several hundred lightyears. What kinda mileage is that?!

Re:Reliability (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533280)

HOnda's suck!

Well at least they do when they hit over 130k miles. I know from experience.

Re:Reliability (1)

civilengineer (669209) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533327)

If there was a road to Mars, the Japs would have got there first.

Re:Reliability (2, Informative)

pinkboi (533214) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533378)

Do realize that this probe already went around Mars and back to Earth. It's pretty amazing that the thing has been functioning all this time.

Re:Reliability (2, Interesting)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533437)

probe that lasts longer than several hundred lightyears.

I'm not sure if you're trolling here or you're just misguided...

1) Light year is an unit of distance, not time, so no "last longer than" but "go further than".
2) It's helluva much too - distance it takes one year for light to travel. There's 3 light seconds from Earth to Moon, 7 light minutes to the Sun, about one light hour to Neptune, four light years to Proxima Centauri, nearest star. Mars is at worst several light minutes away from Earth - when it's on the opposite side of the Sun. Building a probe that would stand several hundred lightyears, traveling at speed near to light, would be pretty hard... it would take several hundred years for it to get to its destination and it would probably be hit by numerous micrometeorites in the meantime. And E=(Mv^2)/2, in this case E=(Mc^2)/2 so energy of one micrometeorite hitting the probe would be half the energy of its nuclear annihilation. Enough to evaporate a serious starship.

Solar flares (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533258)

I wonder if the solar flares could of damaged any of the electronics.

Re:Solar flares (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7533308)

rtfa

Re:Solar flares (1)

Mukaikubo (724906) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533438)

Yes, but not the recent ones. The current theory is that a solar flare over a year ago devastated the power system.

Strange but seemingly consistent (4, Interesting)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533262)

I'm starting to get the impression that there is some sort of major hazard somewhere on the way to Mars. It seems that quite a few probes have been getting so beat up as to be partly or completely inoperable on arrival to Martian orbit.

Does anyone have any hard data on the statistics of spacecraft survival for all known Mars missions? Am I incorrect?

Battle On! (5, Funny)

jmkaza (173878) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533267)

This is going to be the best episode of Batttlebots ever!

Those who ignore the past (future?)... (2, Funny)

hendridm (302246) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533294)

Doc: No wonder this circuit failed. It says "Made in Japan".
Marty McFly: What do you mean, Doc? All the best stuff is made in Japan.
Doc: Unbelievable.

Doesn't matter to me... (3, Funny)

tomdarch (225937) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533313)

Because it's a Nozomi Express Probe, I can't use my JRPass on it!

It's true (2, Funny)

sulli (195030) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533354)

They should have launched a Hikari first.

Next time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7533367)

Send a giant fighting robot.

Life Expectancy of Electronics in todays society (1)

Merlinium (678576) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533421)

Well with the life expectancy of 6 months to 1 years for all of todays electronic products, The warranty is about to run out on the Mars mission space crafts, no wonder its failing, maybe they should have opted for the Extended Service plan. For only an addition $6,500,000 they could have had a 3 year warranty.

Warranty work (1)

kmahan (80459) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533497)

The problem is that "on-site" service plan isn't offered. So you have to bring it into the shop. But on the plus side "parts and labor" are included in the cost.

Isn't it obvious? (1)

El (94934) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533432)

The martians don't like having their picture taken.

Here's The Deal! (1)

Java Commando (726093) | more than 10 years ago | (#7533485)

Common, people! No one has yet mentioned the possibility of a Monolith! I mean, THAT could be why so many Mars missions fail.

Cripes.

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