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back to article Phobos-Grunt 'crippled by US aurora station', 'is a bio-weapon'

"As to Mars - it is a planet that does not like earthlings. Only 30 per cent of Soviet-Russian launches to Mars were successful, the Americans have had 50 per cent success, while all attempts by Japan and Europe have failed so far" - Vladimir Popovkin, head of Russian space agency Roscosmos. NASA's Mars rover Curiosity may have …

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WTF?

Question

What the holy hell is this article doing under "Science"??? Suggest moving it to a new category called "whackjobs"

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Black Helicopters

Conspiracy theory #4

The spacecraft is a complex bag of bits that doesn't work properly.

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Personally, I think we're all in a 'Truman Show'-esque experiment where Mars and everything else further out aren't really there at all. It's just a giant spherical rear-screen projector. All of the previous missions to Mars had either been rigged by the overseers to return false information, or were sabotaged to discourage us from going there ourselves. Wouldn't want up puncturing the screen would they?

This would also explain why we can't see any dark matter out there, you can't rear-project black onto the screen.

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Asimov (I think, anyway) wrote a short story on that - a set of astronauts are sent out to the moon, and upon getting round to the dark side, find it's made of wooden scaffolding and paper (one of them having spent a fair bit of the mission saying "wouldn't it be weird if it was all just made to fool us..."). Upon said crew member getting a little "worked up", they are amazed to find ground crew opening up the hatch - discovering it was all a psychological experiment, they never actually left the Earth, and they weren't meant to last long enough to get round the back of the moon...

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Alien

Sometimes

the best you can hope for is that the minor of two evils if the funny one.

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Anonymous Coward

Someone was reading Dilbert this weekend, weren't they?

http://www.dilbert.com/2011-11-27/

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Thumb Up

: p

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Facepalm

wot a caaant

medvedevedev, punish scientists pushing the outer edges of space exploration? guys who manage to knock something together using nothing more than some runner bean canes and bailing twine?

i've seen more complex bits of pipe in a plumbers offcuts box than go into the russian space program. Roscosomos, sponsered by Wicks builders merchants.

way to inspire! well done. if that is the case, then i predict all future sciencey projects will be measured against the following criteria.

explore space? no.

cure cancer? no.

anything for the betterment of mankind? no.

write fart app? yes!

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Medvededv's response ...

... does seem somewhat disproportionate. Just because he says he doesn't want a Stalinist solution doesn't mean that he isn't proposing one.

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I for one...

...welcome our zany, trolling, conspiracy-mongering asshat internet overlords.

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Black Helicopters

what, not the chinese?

I'm surprised nobody's pinned it on them yet, they seem to cop the blame for pretty much every other unexplained spacey/ITey shenanigan.

Hey, they even have a payload on this baby, maybe it's actually an ApocalypsoBomb in disguise?

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"maybe it's actually an ApocalypsoBomb in disguise?"

With a tangy orange flavour? Mmmmm....

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Don't ya mean

ApocarypsoBomb?

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Mushroom

Does this mean that...

Using my powers of deduction it seems the Russians are intent on wiping out the population of Cardiff with some sort of mutated HIV bio weapon.

Oh well.

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Anonymous Coward

Maybe it's nuclear in nature

By golly the Galactic Ghoul looks like Homer Simpson.

http://dailypygmy.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/homer-simpson.jpg1.gif

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So, it's not going to level Cardiff? :(

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Holmes

Who let the loon out? (HOU! HOUHOU!)

Okay, so RT.com somewhat earlier featured heavy-to-digest fare about how comet Elenin is "behaving oddly" and clearly some sort INTERPLANETARY CRAFT intent on RENDEZVOUS (possibly with the ultimate goal of CAUSING DISASTER). I'm not saying RT.com is shite, actually it often is saying things that are political 3rd rails to "western media pundits" but like El Reg, they may let the loon out. HAARP? HAR HAR!

Apart from that, this looks just like the Beagle fuckup. I suggest looking into correct project, configuration and build management (also financing, hiring practices, and correct application of the better-faster-cheaper-choose-at-most-two mantra).

This will probably lead to greater success than threatening unnamed individuals with a visit by SMERSH. No need to keep up the hardcore.

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Facepalm

"It's a Trap!" - Admiral Akbar

"They told me they fixed it... It's not my fault!"

That is all.

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Alien

And slowly...

... and surely, they drew their plans against us!

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Anonymous Coward

Obvious

The man on the grassy knoll.

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FAIL

Seriously disappointed/alarmed by Medvedev's response to this - whatever happened to waiting to see what happened and standing behind your team? Guess that's not his management style.

In an entirely connected note, I remember reading a throwaway comment somewhere about the pay levels for Russians working in aerospace. Basically, the claim was that after getting educated to post-doctorate levels and joining the industry, one could look forward to earning rather less than someone working in a mobile phone shop... Can anyone with a bit of knowledge here comment?

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Alert

My favorite point is that he goes out of his way to say he won't treat them as bad as Stalin would. "I will never give a man 100 lashes", with an unspoken "though maybe 99 lashes on 6-7 occasions - but never 100!" When you feel it necessary to bring up the fact you won't pull a Stalin, you have magnificiently telegraphed that you still plan to commit genocide on the scientists' ethic group.

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mky
Pint

optional is a lie!

I work in the Aerospace/Aviation industry. It's pretty common knowledge that designing an aircraft, requires a college degree, to build, or repair one, only requires a G.E.D.

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"[S]tanding behind your team" has an entirely different meaning when you're thinking in terms of draught animals.

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IT Angle

It's simple..

Just figure out what went wrong by retrieving it, and bringing it back down in the Space Shuttle, oh wait, never-mind.

I guess we'll just have to live with; "Computer, broken!"

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Anonymous Coward

Haarp

Meh. A billion watt focussed on a point the size of a football field will mess the electronics up. Perhaps its a message?

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Silver badge

"solar panels were acting like wings"

Is that possible? I'd have thought that any interaction with the atmosphere could only result in the craft going lower, with drag inevitably being higher than any lift being generated. But what do I know?!

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Boffin

Re: "solar panels were acting like wings"

I suspect that they're referring to a solar sail effect, not interaction with the Earth's atmosphere, which would indeed drag down the spacecraft.

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Fair point, but I'd have thought any such effect would be minuscule and tend to cancel out as the satellite orbits. I've not seen any proposals to break out of earth orbit using solar sails (which would be vastly bigger than any solar panel array). You get your spacecraft to escape velocity first then deploy the sails.

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@Chris Miller

"I've not seen any proposals to break out of earth orbit using solar sails (which would be vastly bigger than any solar panel array). You get your spacecraft to escape velocity first then deploy the sails."

True, but maybe there is a genuine unknown effect going on here. At least, I hope there is, for the Russian scientists' sake ...

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Joke

More plausible theory:

The shipboard computer of Phobos-Grunt has the all new GPP feature (genuine people personality) and is offended about being given such a silly name, and is moping in orbit. Meanwhile the telemetry system is angry about what the mission control computer said about its software, and is no longer on speaking terms with mission control. Mission control is offended that Phobos-Grunt did want to talk to the Aussies, but not to mother Russia. None want to work before someone else has apologised.

The lesson we learn from this is that the last thing you want is computers with human-like intelligence.

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Boffin

Great Galactic Ghoul

Hmm, when I first read of the GGG in the '70s, it was named the Great Galactic Ghost. I wonder what caused the shift in nomenclature.

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Happy

Before that it was Space Ghost

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Asylumn

> "I am not suggesting putting them up against the wall like under Josef

> Vissarionovich (Stalin), but seriously punish either financially or, if the

> fault is obvious, it could be a disciplinary or even criminal punishment,"

If I were a Russian space scientist, I might now consider packing a suitcase and getting on the next plane to Pasadena. Do you think that quote would be enough to get you asylum on the grounds of well-founded fear of persecution?

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Roscosmos better check their facts

"Only 30 per cent of Soviet-Russian launches to Mars were successful, the Americans have had 50 per cent success, while all attempts by Japan and Europe have failed so far"

Whether the Soviet/Russian success rate is even that high must be debatable.

Mars 1M A and B - trapped in Earth orbit.

Mars 1962A and B exploded during launch,

Mars 1 died in interplanetary space (but set a communications distance record).

Zond 1964A failed on launch.

Zond 2 died in interplanetary space.

Mars 1969A, Mars 1969B and Kosmos 419 all failed on launch.

Mars 2 and 3 both orbiters achieved their objective. Mars 2's lander crashed, Mars 3's landed and transmitted data for 15 seconds - the data is probably corrupt.

Mars 4 failed to make Martian orbit and flew by the planet,

Mars 5 a major success achieving orbit but failed in 9 days.

Mars 6 reached Mars but failed during the landing.

Mars 7 ejected the lander prematurely and missed the planet.

Fobos 1 died in interplanetary space.

Fobos 2 entered orbit, returned some imagery and was then commanded to turn away from the Earth - oops! Lander was not deployed.

Mars 96 failed on launch.

Fobos-Grunt failed to leave Earth orbit.

Meanwhile, Europe has put a very successful orbiter around Mars. If they'd like to check their receipts they'll see it was fired there by a Roscosmos Soyuz-Fregat. The Beagle 2 lander failed during descent to the Martian surface.

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LDS
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"Meanwhile, Europe has put a very successful orbiter around Mars". Exactly. Beagle was anyway a sort of secondary mission, and a first attempt by Europe, and the Mars Express orbiter works very well. Does this lack of knowledge tell something about the quality of the Russian team?

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HOW ABOUT THE FACT THAT RUSSIANS JUST HAVE POOR ENGINEERING, POOR MANUFACTURING AND POOR EXECUTION OF THEIR PLANS? NOW THEY ARE MOUTHING OFF ABOUT A NEW MISSILE SYSTEM.. MAYBE THEY SHOULD COME UP WITH A RELIABLE BICYCLE!

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Holmes

Can't be that poor as Rus Engines have kicked Curiosity on the way. It seems to depend.

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Windows

STOP SHOUTING!

GO BACK TO YOUR HOBBY - MASTURBATING LOUDLY!!!

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mky
Pint

...

Now that's a hobby!

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Awesome chopper

"MAYBE THEY SHOULD COME UP WITH A RELIABLE BICYCLE!" -

ЧУВАК / DUDE, BUY YOURSELF "URAL" BIKE SO THAT YOU COULD BE A BIG MAN SO THAT YOU COULD TYPE WITH CAPS!

http://x-ya.ru/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/Ural_Wolf.jpg

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Megaphone

@mky

Apparently it can be a breach of the peace too :o(

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Me3

IT'S 2012

So this thing falls into the deep ocean - ferments for a year and POW!!! It's the super virus that starts the Zombie Apocalypse!!!!

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Anonymous Coward

"Oh no, not again."

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Silver badge

Wow, HAARP can cause earthquakes and control people's minds... and now it can take over Russian spacecraft? What's next? If we're lucky, it will cancel Glee.

And AC above was right... That's no galactic space monster thing, that's Homer Simpson.

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mky
Pint

and who is...

to say Homer isn't a galactic space monster thing?

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GBE

Unintentional sabotage?

Huh? Sabotage is defined as a deliberate, intentional act. There's no such thing as "unintentional sabotage". I think the word you're looking for is "accident" or "screw-up"...

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Holmes

Sword of Phobos-Grunt

Very glad to see this. I'd been thinking that this was intended by the Russians since the 3rd or 4th day.

Why did the Russians do it? Elementary, my dear Watson.

The Russians, who are the builders of the Iranian reactor at Bushehr, and who could time the last stages of the the Iranian project to coincide with the window of travel to to Mars, are very aware of Israel's threat to that program. Remember Iraq in 1981 and Syria in 2007.

So up goes Phobos-Grunt, and who really know what it contains?

When it could not get out of Low Earth Orbit, it was predicted to come right down. Then it's life in LEO got extended until today it may stay up until mid-February. Soon it will be longer than that. Sometimes it hears signals sometimes it doesn't. Who knows what the Russians are capable of doing with their signals?

Israel is most worried of all. With P-G orbiting the earth 16 times a day and never really too far away from Dimona, Ben Gurion Airport and suburban Tel Aviv, The Israelis must be having second thoughts about a sneak attack on Bushehr.

Especially, if Putin warned them in private about doing so.

Tom Clancy, phone home.

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Wow, Local Group ...

... that is some imagination! Have you published anything, and if so, where can I buy it?

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Holmes

There's more where that came from.

I thankee, sir.

"The wish is father to the conspiracy theory."

Shakespeare

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