The image posted to the right is an infographic I found a while back detailing all the missions to Mars and their varying degrees of success. I feel like it’s appropriate to post it again given how much Russia must hate that fucking planet.
Found in Space Flight Today was this cheery little article about the re-entry of the Phobos-Grunt Mars probe launched by Russia on November 9th and causing some poor guys since then to thank Christ that Stalin is fucking dead:
Phobos-Grunt was the first interplanetary spacecraft launched by Russia since 1996 when an ambitious Mars mission was lost in a launch failure. Of the 19 unmanned Russian Mars missions launched prior to Phobos-Grunt, 15 were outright failures.
I’m not saying they quit trying… but Jesus… And at US$170 million, that’s a lot of rubles.
Of course, there’s also this happy little bit, too:
In a statement released last month, Roscosmos, the Russian federal space agency, said the spacecraft’s propellant — highly toxic nitrogen tetroxide and dimethylhydrazine rocket fuel — would burn up in the atmosphere and posed no threat to the public. Likewise, the agency said that 10 micrograms of radioactive Cobalt-57, used in one of the spacecraft’s experiments, would not pose a health threat or have any adverse environmental threat.
Oh? It will? That’s good to know. And the radioactive material won’t cause any threat? Awesome! Because it’s not like the government of freak’n Russia would ever lie about such a small thing.
Back when I was a kid, I had some sci-fi trading cards. They had all kinds of artistic renderings of what things in space would look like. Most of them were drawn in the 50’s and 60’s when nobody had any real clue how to get into space much less what it would all look like.
Well you know something? It all looked just like the above rendering! And this thing was lunched last fucking year!
Just look at the goddamned thing. It’s like Russia’s still fitting the damned thing together out of leftover steam pipes pulled out of some Moscow tenement.
I’m not saying something put into space has to look cool to get the job done but compare it to some of the stuff NASA’s putting into space and it’s like the good folks at the Baikonur Cosmodrome are stuck in some kind of time warp.
I poke fun, of course, but they seriously need to start working out the kinks or America will be the only country capable of getting anything to Mars. Which is sad given the budget state its in now.