Phobos-Grunt to Fly Bacteria on Round Trip to Mars Orbit

Russia's Phobos-Grunt spacecraft
Russia's Phobos-Grunt spacecraft


Russian interplanetary probe Phobos-Grunt will have passengers. There are earth`s bacteria. They will fly from the Earth to Mars and back and undergo space cold and radiation. Scientists want to use the bacteria to find out whether life of our planet could have been brought from space.

Lev Zeleny, director of RAS Space Research Institute, explains that the goal of this mission is to check if bacteria can survive in outer space, for example, if they fly on the surface of meteor.

Phobos-Grunt is intended for exploration of Mars and its satellite Phobos. It will deliver samples of Phobos` soil to the Earth. The spacecraft will begin its mission in Oct. 2009.

Returned back to the Earth, the bacteria will be studied by the scientists. “Radiation will provide the most impact. Bacteria can survive in vacuum”, Zeleny says.

One of the life origin theories says that bacteria can travel on comets and meteor, and that is how they arrived at our planet, thus giving birth to life on the Earth.

  • Nickolai_the_Russian_Guy

    It doesn’t really make sense that life on earth would start from bacteria traveling on the SURFACE of a meteor. This is the first part to vaporize upon entering Earth’s atmosphere, or upon collision with the Earth (OK, that depends on which side hits, but the bacteria on the opposing side would be in for a rough shake).

    It makes more sense to test bacteria inside some sort of capsule, since any bacteria that would survive entrance to the Earth’s atmosphere would have to be buried deep inside the meteor