Video: Phobos-Grunt re-entry animation

Dec 30, 2011 By Nancy Atkinson, Universe Today

When and where will Russia’s Phobos-Grunt satellite crash back to Earth? It’s too early to tell, but the engineers from Analytical Graphics, Inc. (AGI) have put together an animation which recaps what has happened with the spacecraft so far, and what is expected to occur during the uncontrolled re-entry.

The spacecraft is currently projected to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere in early January 2012. Most of the spacecraft and leftover onboard fuel will burn up in the atmosphere, although some pieces may survive reentry, including the Planetary Society’s LIFE experiment. The return capsule is designed to survive the heat of reentry and make a survivable trajectory to the ground, and can withstand an impact force of 4,000 Gs.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

Dr. David Warmflash, a scientist for the experiment, who has been writing updates on the mission for Universe Today, has hopes that the experiment can be recovered and the biological samples studied.

The experiment was originally designed to study the effects of the interplanetary environment on various organisms during a long duration flight, and how they would react beyond the Van Allen Radiation Belts, which protect organisms in low Earth orbit from some of the most powerful components of space radiation. Although the spacecraft has not traveled outside of the belts, the organisms contained within the LIFE biomodule will have been in space for more than two months when the probe reenters the atmosphere. Studying the samples may provide some insight on radiation in low Earth orbit.

However, if the capsule falls in water, which is highly likely since two-thirds of Earth’s surface is covered by water, recovery would be highly unlikely.

Phobos-Grunt launched on November 9, but has been stuck in Earth orbit after the upper stage Fregat booster failed to boost the orbit and send the spacecraft towards Mars.

Explore further: Red moon at night; stargazer's delight

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Russia Mars probe may fall to Earth in January

Nov 14, 2011

A Russian probe that was to visit a moon of Mars but is stuck in orbit around the Earth could burn up in the Earth's atmosphere in January, the head of the Russian space agency said Monday.

No new contact with stranded Mars probe

Nov 25, 2011

The European Space Agency (ESA) said on Friday it had been unable to establish a new link with Russia's stricken Mars probe but added that the craft's orbit seemed to have become more stable.

Russia's Mars probe will crash to Earth in January

Dec 16, 2011

A Russian spacecraft bound for a moon of Mars and stuck in Earth's orbit will come crashing back next month, but its toxic fuel and radioactive material on board will pose no danger of contamination, the Russian ...

Recommended for you

Red moon at night; stargazer's delight

2 hours ago

Monday night's lunar eclipse proved just as delightful as expected to those able to view it. On the East Coast, cloudy skies may have gotten in the way, but at the National Science Foundation's National Optical ...

Meteorites yield clues to Martian early atmosphere

4 hours ago

(Phys.org) —Geologists who analyzed 40 meteorites that fell to Earth from Mars unlocked secrets of the Martian atmosphere hidden in the chemical signatures of these ancient rocks. Their study, published ...

Let's put a sailboat on Titan

8 hours ago

The large moons orbiting the gas giants in our solar system have been getting increasing attention in recent years. Titan, Saturn's largest moon, is the only natural satellite known to house a thick atmosphere. ...

Image: Rosetta's Philae lander snaps a selfie

8 hours ago

Philae is awake… and taking pictures! This image, acquired last night with the lander's CIVA (Comet nucleus Infrared and Visible Analyzer) instrument, shows the left and right solar panels of ESA's well-traveled ...

User comments : 3

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Tseihta
5 / 5 (1) Dec 30, 2011
Dr. David Warmflash?


Seemingly appropriate... :)
barakn
3 / 5 (4) Jan 04, 2012
Not appropriate enough to prevent the Physorg censors from removing my post, apparently.
Tseihta
3.7 / 5 (3) Jan 04, 2012
Not appropriate enough to prevent the Physorg censors from removing my post, apparently.


Sad... and yet they don't remove omatumr's crack pot pseudo science SPAM.

More news stories

Meteorites yield clues to Martian early atmosphere

(Phys.org) —Geologists who analyzed 40 meteorites that fell to Earth from Mars unlocked secrets of the Martian atmosphere hidden in the chemical signatures of these ancient rocks. Their study, published ...

Red moon at night; stargazer's delight

Monday night's lunar eclipse proved just as delightful as expected to those able to view it. On the East Coast, cloudy skies may have gotten in the way, but at the National Science Foundation's National Optical ...

Down's chromosome cause genome-wide disruption

The extra copy of Chromosome 21 that causes Down's syndrome throws a spanner into the workings of all the other chromosomes as well, said a study published Wednesday that surprised its authors.

Researchers see hospitalization records as additional tool

Comparing hospitalization records with data reported to local boards of health presents a more accurate way to monitor how well communities track disease outbreaks, according to a paper published April 16 in the journal PLOS ON ...

Ebola virus in Africa outbreak is a new strain

The Ebola virus that has killed scores of people in Guinea this year is a new strain—evidence that the disease did not spread there from outbreaks in some other African nations, scientists report.