Fobos-Grunt

Phobos is a moon of the planet Mars. Fobos-Grunt is Russian mission planned to land on Phobos and return to Earth. Along with this mission there will be a Chinese orbiter launched, called Yinghuo-1. This interplanetary Russian mission would be the first one conducted since the Mars 96, which failed. It is scheduled to be launched at the end of 2011 or the beginning of 2012. If the mission succeeds, then it would bring back to Earth the first extraterrestrial sample of macroscopic dimensions taken from the body of a planet since the Luna 24 mission in 1976.

PhobosGruntDesign The Fobos-Grunt mission won’t carry any men aboard and it would take soil sample from Phobos to Earth. The launch would be made on a rocket launcher made by Zenit. If the mission had been launched as previewed in October 2009, it would have returned to Earth in 2012.

The Control Center of the Fobos-Grunt mission will be located in Ukraine, near Yevpatoria, at the Deep Space Communications Center.

Initially, the mission was meant to be launched in October 2009, but the officials realized they had little time for preparations. However, there was hope until the last minute that it would all be ready for the scheduled launch. Still, the mission was finally delayed and a rescheduled launch was officially announced for 2011.

Objectives and studies of the Mission

  • Return to Earth soil samples from the surface of Phobos in order to conduct scientific research on the Martian space, Phobos and Mars.
  • The study of Phobos in situ and by the means of the soil samples and other remote studies.
  • Study of the Martian atmosphere and dust storms dynamics
  • Study of the dust and plasma surrounding Mars, including the radiation environment
  • Study of the Mars satellites, their origins and relation to the planet
  • Studying how asteroid impacts affect and influence the formation of planets of terrestrial origin.
  • Search for the possibility of life existence, past or present
  • Sending a sealed capsule containing microorganisms on a round-trip in-between the planets for a duration of three years.

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