Feeds

Duff Russian Mars probe spotted flying in reverse

Video shows why contact with Phobos-Grunt failed

Intelligent flash storage arrays

A veteran skywatcher has captured a video of the doomed Russian Martian space probe Phobos-Grunt that provides evidence of why ground control has only sporadically been able to contact it.

"The images show that the Phobos-Grunt is moving backwards, with the solar panels deployed but not lightened by the Sun," French astrophotogapher Thierry Legault writes on his website.

No sunlight on the panels, no electricity to the probe; no electricity to the proble, no communication with the ground, it appears.

Legault's remarkable video (scroll down), clearly shows Phobos-Grunt in reverse, with the solar panels deployed, but in darkness.

Astrophotographer Thierry Legault at the Calern plateau Observatory above Nice, France

Thierry Legault at the Calern plateau Observatory above Nice, France (source: Thierry Legault )

According to Legault, the probe shows no signs of tumbling, his evidence being a video he took a day before the one he provides on his website, which shows Phobos-Grunt in a similar orientation.

After a successful launch and orbital insertion on November 9 of last year, Phobos-Grunt failed to fire the engines that were to take it to the Red Planet. Now, Larault writes, "Phobos-Grunt is out of control and its atmospheric reentry is currently scheduled for mid-January," a reference to reports that the failed Mars mission should rain hot chunks of itself onto terra firma on or around January 15. ®

Bootnote

Legault's astrophotography has captured a number of exceptional images, including solar transits of the space shuttle Atlantis and Hubble Space Telescope in May 2009 and Atlantis and the ISS in May 2010. The Reg recommends that all devotees of space exploration take a moment to examine his online gallery.

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
You can crunch it all you like, but the answer is NOT always in the data
Hear that, 'data journalists'? Our analytics prof holds forth
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
Human spacecraft dodge COMET CHUNKS pelting off Mars
Odyssey orbiter yet to report, though - comet's trailing trash poses new threat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.