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Mars space missions


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#1
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Curiosity killed the cat, and satisfaction brought it back.

That's the old addage, and for many years people have wondered about life on other planets and postulated where that life may be and where it comes from...

So we turned our attention to the Moon. A dead planet by all accounts, and so we turn our attention to other bodies in our immediate solar system. So far the likely candidate by far is Mars. (Let's discount the 10th Planet for now, more on this later)

We've dispatched a number of probes past Mars and to Mars, and for some unexplained reasoning, they all invariably meet with disaster. Why is this? And does it not appear to many that these problems are somehow a contrivance?

I could and may detail each and every probe or mission that has been launched past or to Mars but the thrust of this topic is this. Why does every mission to Mars end in such catastrophic failure?

Some reasoning to explain this part of my argument. The English expedition to Mars, jam packed with scientific equipment. Goes into orbit, and is never heard from again. Failure? Umm.. Possibly. NASA launch a probe that touches down, and is never heard from again. Failure? Again, possibly. BUT these are not very well explained are they?

Scientists know MUCH about the weather systems on Mars. They can account for this. They land probes in favourable weather conditions, hence some of the pictures returned, so why then the failure shortly thereafter?

What of missions that have been in close orbit and transmitted back photographs? No one seems to remember the Russian probe that went into orbit and mid transmission of sensitive data (Photographs) suddenly went offline. No reason. No end transmission to show systemic internal failure. Just *click* like a light going off.

No one seems to remember the earlier mission (Prizes awarded for guessing it's name) that went into orbit and send back LOTS of pictures. Such pictures being shown on ITV news at ten in the UK, showing clear structures on Mar's surface. A face and pyramids. News the next day shockingly quiet. Like it never happened.

Months later amid rampant speculation a NASA media release. It was all a hoax. Oh? That's interesting as the scientist involved in the probe's creation says otherwise, and wants an investigation. Which never occurs!

So I find all of this most peculiar, and I wonder why so many failures? It's not as though they cannot create similar probes, and have them crash land (thereby testing the equipment) on desolate parts of our own planet. They could in many ways recreate much of the expected system parameters they expect to encounter on Mars. They can surely get all the way there without incident, but suddenly... UNEXPECTED FAILURE! Yes, say it with me, Hmmm...............

It all appears most strange to this individual. Comments?

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#2
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Mars Mission data. (Not complete but almost)

1960A USSR 10/10/1960 --- Unannounced mission that resulted in a launch failure. The launch was timed to coincide with Krushchev's visit to the United Nations.

1960B USSR 10/14/1960 --- Same outcome as 1960A mission.

1962A USSR 10/24/1962 --- Reached Earth orbit but failed to reach Mars transfer orbit.

Mars 1 USSR 11/01/1962 --- A fly-by mission. Communications with the probe were lost on 03/21/1963 after it had travelled some 104.6 million kilometers towards Mars. It passed within 193,100 kilometers of Mars on 06/19/1969.

1962B USSR 11/04/1962 --- Reached Earth orbit but failed to reach Mars transfer orbit.

Mariner 3 US 11/05/1964 --- The shroud for this fly-by mission failed on launch and the probe wound up in a solar orbit.

Mariner 4 US 11/28/1964 07/14/1965 This first successful flyby of Mars returned 22 pictures of Mars while passing 9845 kilometers above the planet's surface. The most important finding of the mission was that the atmospheric pressure was between 4 and 7 mbar, based on data from the radio-occultation experiment. Contact with the probe was lost on 12/20/1967.

Zond 2 USSR 11/30/1964 --- Contact lost with this fly-by mission when its batteries failed on 05/05/1965. It passed within 1500 kilometers of Mars on 08/06/1965.

Zond 3 USSR 07/18/1965 --- Used to test communications systems out to Mars' orbital distance.

Mariner 6 US 02/25/1969 07/31/1969 Flew by the Martian equator at a distance of 3,410 kilometers and returned 75 pictures of the Martian surface.

Mariner 7 US 03/27/1969 08/05/1969 This flyby mission passed Mars at 3,525 kilometers and returned 126 pictures of the Martian surface.

1969A USSR 03/27/1969 --- An unannounced mission that failed on launch.

1969B USSR 04/14/1969 --- An unannounced mission that failed on launch.

Mariner 8 US 05/08/1971 --- Wound up in the ocean as a result of a launch failure.

Cosmos 419 USSR 05/10/1971 --- Reached Earth orbit but failed to reach Mars transfer orbit. If successful, this would have been the first Mars orbiting mission.

Mars 2 USSR 05/19/1971 11/27/1971 The orbiter was successful and returned data through March 1972. However, no useful pictures were taken as Mars was in the midst of a global dust storm and the orbiter's picture taking sequence had been preprogrammed. Its other data was of poor quality. The lander failed before its touchdown near 44° South, 313° West on 11/27/1971

Mars 3 USSR 05/28/1971 12/02/1971 The orbiter was successful, but the lander, which touched down on 12/02/1971 at 45° South, 158° West, only worked for 20 seconds and returned no data. The orbiter took no useful pictures as Mars was in the midst of a global dust storm and the orbiter's picture taking sequence had been preprogrammed.

Mariner 9 US 05/30/1971 11/14/1971 An orbiter that mapped the surface and imaged Phobos and Deimos. Because it was not preprogrammed as the Mars 2 and Mars 3 orbiters were, it was able to wait out the dust storm. It took 7329 pictures and returned other vital data on the Mars. It also provided the first detailed pictures of the Martian moons Phobos and Deimos. Valles Marineris was named in honor of the Mariner 9 orbiter, which returned data until 10/27/1972.

Mars 4 USSR 07/21/1973 02/10/1974 An orbiter mission that turned into a flyby mission when the retrorockets failed to fire. The probe passed Mars at a distance of 2200 kilometers and returned a number of pictures.

Mars 5 USSR 07/25/1973 02/12/1974 A fully successful orbiter mission that carried a variety of instruments to study Mars and returned 70 photographs over a nine day period.

Mars 6 USSR 08/05/1973 03/12/1974 A lander mission in which contact was lost with the lander as it was descending to the surface. Some useful atmospheric data was returned during the descent

Mars 7 USSR 08/09/1973 03/09/1974 The craft arrived at Mars but a retrorocket that didn't fire resulted in the lander missing the planet by 1300 kilometers.

Viking 1 US 08/20/1975 06/19/1976 Orbiter/lander mission. The orbiter imaged the surface as well as collecting UV and IR data. The Orbiter shutdown 08/07/1980. The lander touched down on 07/20/1976 in Chryse Planitia. The lander was more successful than expected returning vital data about Mars until its last communications on 11/13/1982.

Viking 2 US 09/09/1975 08/07/1976 Orbiter/lander the same as Viking 1. The orbiter worked until shutdown on 07/25/1978. The lander touched down on 09/03/1976 in Utopia Planitia and worked until it was turned off on 04/11/1980. The Viking 1 and 2 orbiters and landers returned more than 50,000 pictures.

Phobos 1 USSR 07/07/1988 --- An combination orbiter and lander destined for the moon Phobos, a wrong command sent to the craft in September 1988 after it had travelled 19 million kilometers resulted in its shutting down.

Phobos 2 USSR 07/12/1988 01/29/1989 A combination orbiter and lander destined for the moon Phobos, the craft arrived at Mars and returned data until contact was lost on 03/27/1989 prior to releasing its lander.

Mars Observer US 09/25/1992 --- The orbiter mission was lost as it was going into Mars orbit on 08/21/1993.

Mars 96 USSR/
Intr'ntl 11/16/1996 --- This orbiter mission, featuring an unprecedented level of international cooperation, was lost shortly after launch. The space craft reentered over the Pacific and parts of South America.

Mars Pathfinder US 12/04/1996 07/04/1997 This lander mission featured the first rover, Sojourner, to explore Mars.

Mars Climate Orbiter US 12/11/1998 09/23/1999 Also known as the Mars Surveyor 98 Orbiter, this orbiter mission was entering Mars orbit but crashed to the surface as a result of a misunderstanding over English vs Metric units. It's definitely time that the US abandon the archaic English system and go metric. The primary mission was to study the martian climate. The orbiter was also to serve as a radio relay for the Mars Polar Lander mission.

Mars Surveyor '98
Polar Lander US 01/03/1999 12/03/1999 Contact with this lander mission, which was to study surface chemistry, topology, mineralogy, and meteorology, was lost as it was about to enter the martian atmosphere on its way to the martian surface near the south pole. No definitive answer as to what happened to the mission is available The spacecraft also carried, and was to deploy, two microprobes named Deep Space 2.

New Millenium Deep Space 2 US 01/03/1999 12/03/1999 This mission consisted of two surface penetrators that were carried to Mars aboard the Mars Surveyor '98 Polar Lander mission. They were to impact and penetrate the surface of Mars in the area of layered terrain that surrounds the south pole. No contact was ever established with either probe. See the entry for Mars Surveyor '98 Polar Lander.

Please note how back in 1964 a probe was launched that we stayd in contact with for 3 years! Note how amusing it is that 40 year old technology proves more reliable than current? How strange is that?

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#3
evilash

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well first off....i do find things strange and consider my self very opened minded...

i remeber that they did crash a probe(was it ours or someone else) when they programmed it wrong(feets instead of meters....or vice versa) and as far away as they its not like they can just send a mantaince crew after tehm to fix it up. as far as lif eon mars...i don't think we're ever know untill we get there..if ther was/is life on the red planet.

who knows what is happening to these things....quicksand? falling off cliffs.....amtospheric conditions ruining the equipment. who knows what is there. hell..it could be some form of rust-inducing particales that we no knowing about.

to be blunt. there are a million different answers that could explain what is happening to these probos..

as far as the face...i read somewhere that its just a mountain..that there is many pictures and its just the angle...(yeah right) i beleive some life may have lived there..maybe...


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#4
evilash

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yeah...it was more like the mars divebomber


:lol:

#5
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You mean this mission: Mars Climate Orbiter US 12/11/1998 09/23/1999 Also known as the Mars Surveyor 98 Orbiter, this orbiter mission was entering Mars orbit but crashed to the surface as a result of a misunderstanding over English vs Metric units. It's definitely time that the US abandon the archaic English system and go metric. The primary mission was to study the martian climate. The orbiter was also to serve as a radio relay for the Mars Polar Lander mission.

As for what is occuring when they land? Many of them in fact do land and are immediately lost upon touchdown. Most odd indeed.

They don't only lose ONE to failure, they lose them ALL. How strange!

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#6
sickfish

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obviously it's a conspiracy of some sort.

that was a joke.

i don't follow this stuff much so i don't assume i know everything.

perhaps the reason the 1964 probe worked so well is that it didn't try to land. 1500 kilometers is really far away from mars, so we don't have to worry very much about mars itself being in the way.

additionally, it takes between 4.3 and 21 minutes for any signal from earth to reach mars, depending on the distance. 4.3 minutes is way too long a delay for any last-minute course adjustments or anything like that. it stands to reason they might mess up once in a while. not every time, though. that's weird.

but when they do land, and are lost upon touchdown? i don't know. my guess is there's something going on that we don't know about :) i wouldn't honestly suggest a conspiracy. maybe there are evil martian men that smash the crafts when they land. maybe there's some weather or geomagnetic phenomenon or something that we forgot to take into account, or have no idea about, that's causing these things to screw up. i think that's entirely within the realm of possibility.

i do know one thing, though. we'll get it right eventually.
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#7
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Well, yeah LOL I hear what you're saying about little martian men and conspiracies, and I don't think there's aliens waiting for these probes to touch down and then they set to them with hammer and tongs!

But what I am saying is that it's weird how this keeps occuring, and I know that there is a significant time lapse for data to be sent from there to here, but that's not all of it. If you were to take a look at Mars and map it's surface you'd see that most Mars missions all move within a certain area. If you then consider all the failures... I don't think that all of them are failing as we are told.

I think what's really occuring is that we are not getting the full picture, and if these probes did not fail, we'd be wondering what data was being sent back. I think in effect most of these missions succeed, to a greater or lesser degree, and we are simply told they fail so that whatever data they find they keep to themselves and do nto need to share. If you see where I'm heading with this.

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#8
sickfish

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well then that would constitute a conspiracy. i do hope you're wrong, because conspiracy theories really get on my nerves. :P

but it's certainly possible.

couldn't someone intercept the data coming back from these things? i'd be surprised if there weren't any people sitting in their homes trying to listen in, you know, like you can do with police scanners and stuff. and even if the data sent back and forth is encrypted, someone ought to be out there trying to crack it. those kids crack EVERYTHING.
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#9
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The data is encrypted, and even if it were not, it's mostly on tight bandwidth and even if that was not true, it's sent back on bands that are not made public. So what would you hear if you listened to any and all bandwidths available?

Unintelligible data. That could be satellite data for all you know. Also: Who says they do not use satellites to relay that data? That would make perfect sense. Probe to Satellite (Tight band, specific frequency, no loss through the atmosphere for weak signal loss) and then satellilte relay to NASA direct. Re-encrypted.

And you'd hear what? And you'd know what?

Is this a conspiracy? Probably. Does that make this a crackpot theory? Possibly, but one that may hold validity until proven otherwise. And of course I am always willing to be wrong, let's just say that something smells, and no one wants to clarify what smells so bad.

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#10
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heh well yes NASA probably does make it hard to snoop on their communications. i'd still be surprised if no one tried. i hope it's not a conspiracy, and it's just a bunch of mistakes and coincidences. coincidence does not a conspiracy make. or something like that.

people smell conspiracy in everything, as soon as coincidence is involved. my mom smells cat pee all the time. yeah it's a gross thought. but it's really annoying. sitting there watching tv and she comes in "it smells like cat pee in here!". at least once a week. i think i just made an analogy about something smelling and the people who smell things. and conspiracy theorists. or, i just found an excuse to talk about cat urine.

you be the judge!
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#11
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Mission failure comparison to cat pee?

Public awareness and tax dollars possibly squandered compared to cat pee? Gee. Way to go with a lucid response. Thanks!

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#12
sickfish

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:D my analogy was (supposed to be) comparing conspiracy theories to cat pee. yeah, it was pretty weak :P the mission failures and the wasted money of course, sucks.

but how easy can it be for them to withhold information? there are always leaks. whistleblowers and stuff. there are more than a few people involved with these missions. i just prefer to give them the benefit of the doubt as far as their motives are concerned. i honestly think that the vast majority of those involved in these missions want to find out, for everyone, everything they can about mars. and so far they haven't delivered squat. or at least not as much as we all had hoped.

it seems that the simplest explanation is that they just messed up. adding conspiracy to the mix just complicates things. following the principle of parsimony, i'd say there is no conspiracy, just incompetence.

ockham's razor burn on the chin of conspiracy theories!
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#13
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Ah well. What you are saying is entirely possible. I'll admit it, it just looks different to me. I guess seeing as we're the only people talking about it, this will die a natural death.

LOL@ cat pee. Thanks a lot. ;) Having 5 cats, I can tell you, IF one of them does something they shouldn't, you don't think something smells, you KNOW it does.

Anyway. At least you responded.

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