Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Mars 7 probe launched in 1973

How do you say ‘doh!’ in Russian?

The Mars 7 rover launched by the Soviets August 9, 1973, was to study Mars by releasing a lander to measure temperature and pressure of the atmosphere and to study soil composition.  Unfortunately, due to premature ejection, the lander, separating from the bus 4 hours early, missed the entire planet and is now in a heliocentric orbit with the bus.

This failure followed on the heels of the Mars 4 probe which failed to enter orbit; Mars 5 which successfully entered orbit but its instrument compartment began to leak and it ceased operation in just a little over two weeks; and Mars 6 which released a lander successfully, but after 224 seconds of transmitting data, contact was lost right before the probe was about to fire its retrorockets for a soft landing.

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