The Space Review takes an in-depth look at Russia’s Phobos-Grunt mission, which is set to launch this week from Baikonur. I have an essay titled, “Will Russia end its curse at Mars?“, that looks at the long history of largely failed Russian and Soviet missions to the Red Planet. An excerpt:
Phobos-Grunt (“Soil”), the first Russian mission to Mars in 15 years, is designed to end the curse. It is one of the largest and most ambitious planetary missions ever launched, with the primary goal of returning nearly a half pound of soil and rock from Phobos. When the Zenit-2 booster lifts on Wednesday, it will carry hopes for not only answering fundamental questions about Mars but for the revival of a long-dormant space exploration program.
My fellow Space Policy Institute alum Dwayne Day takes a closer look at the mission, the risks involved, and the state of Russia’s space science and planetary exploration programs in “Red moon around a Red Planet.”
And Lou Friedman describes an unusual life sciences experiment from The Planetary Society that is aboard Phobos-Grunt.
Other articles in The Space Review this week include:
- An appeal from Frank DiBello and Alan Stern to expedite the Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) program
- A look at the efforts to reform American export laws by Jeff Foust
- A review of proposed NASA guidelines for protecting historic lunar exploration sites from Matthew Kleiman.