Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Phobos-Grunt Gone

A Russian space official has told the local media that saving the Phobos-Grunt mission is "mission impossible" and predicts the probe will fall back to Earth sometime in mid-January, 2012.

The Soviet/Russian record at Mars is abysmal-- not one mission has been a complete success-- whereas American and European missions to Mars have regularly produced extraordinary results. On the other hand, Soviet Veneras are still the most successful probes to reach Venus, where American and European attempts have, on the whole, met with more limited success over the years.

Why the difference? Part of it is probably a matter of emphasis, but part of it is also simply the roll of the cosmic dice.

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