back to article Russian Mars mission launches after multi-year delays

After years of delay, Russia has successfully launched its first planetary probe since the Mars 96 failure at the end of the last millenium. The craft – Фобос-Грунт, or Phobos-Grunt ("grunt" means "soil" in Russian) – lifted off right on schedule at 2:16am local time (20:16 UT) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, …

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  1. Paul F
    Alien

    Looks familiar...

    Kinda looks like the old Venus probes the Ruskies landed back in the 60's. Heck for that price it might very well be a leftover from that age.

    In any event, I wish them luck. Any human exploration is good exploration.

  2. MrT
    Coat

    Have they included...

    ...the obligatory Zork-o-meter Leather Goddess detector?

    Mine's the one with the cheese sandwich in the pocket...

  3. Wombling_Free
    Thumb Up

    Love the Soviet design!

    You have to hand it to the Russians - they know how to design spacecraft that LOOK like spacecraft!

    I always get the feeling that US spacecraft (Orion, stop sniggering up the back!) are designed with marketing brochures in mind, whereas Russian spacecraft look like they are designed to DO STUFF.

  4. E 2

    Excellent

    Hope it goes well. Mars has been a hard target historically.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge
      Happy

      Actually Mars is an easy target. It's *not* hitting it at full pelt that's the tricky bit.......

  5. KrisMac

    Phobos-Grunt ?

    Are you sure that the name doesn't refer to the space marine in DOOM?

    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      Yes

      That's how it all started - on Phobos and with grunts...

  6. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    Boffin

    Well, at least we can be fairly certain

    that whatever else fails, there won't be any embarrassing imperial/metric conversion issues with this one...

    Unless they decide to range in versta.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Hope it goes well

    The Chinese involvement is a good thing - maybe together they can push things along a bit in future. Nothing like a good space race to get things moving.

    1. Christoph Silver badge

      No, that will happen with LOHAN

      The problems will come with the LOHAN project, converting from olympic bathtubs and metric whales and elephants per square foot.

  8. That Awful Puppy
    Thumb Up

    Go Russia!

    (No real content to this comment, really, just my Slavic blood acting up.)

  9. Tchou
    Thumb Up

    "If all goes well, Phobos-Grunt will arrive at Mars in October of next year, circle the planet for a few months, then land on the Martian moon Phobos, where it will pick up a few hundred precious grams of pebbles and dust. A return vehicle will then lift off from that moon and arrive back on Earth in 2014."

    Just wow. Good luck guys!

  10. Oliver Mayes

    And it's already starting to fail.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-15631472

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lanches and fails.

    There is a surprise for a Russian Mars mission

  12. Annihilator
    Coat

    Again??

    Haven't they just got back from Mars?..

  13. Colin Miller
    Unhappy

    Upper stage failure

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-15631472

    A Russian space probe sent to collect rock and dust from a Martian moon has veered off course within minutes of starting its 33 month mission.

    The Russian space agency said an engine designed to keep the probe on track failed to start.

    It says the craft is currently stuck in an Earth orbit and engineers have three days to correct the fault before its batteries run out.

    "I would not say it's a failure, it's a non-standard situation, but it is a working situation." - Vladimir Popovkin, the head of the Russian Space Agency.

  14. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
    Unhappy

    The curse of Mars strikes again

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/09/russian-mars-probe-engines-fail

  15. Bassey

    Oops

    Looks like this was posted an hour or two too soon. Shame. I really don't care who is carrying out Interplanetary missions as long as someone is. Kudos to the Russians for keeping trying and lets hope they can salvage something out of (what looks like) a complete nightmare at the moment.

  16. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
    Alien

    Damn

    Left my double green ringed torch in its boot :(

    I'll have to send Capt Black to retrieve it.

    1. Graham Marsden
      Coat

      Da da dum...

      ... Da da dah dum!

      (I actually had the Captain Scarlet uniform when I was *very* young!)

  17. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Oh, crap

    That's why you have to have humuns on board on such missions. Just switch to manual and press a button is all it needs... Or, in the worst case, climb out and give it a kick...

  18. hugo tyson
    Coat

    Grunt == Ground?

    Surely....

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