Feeds

Duff Russian Mars probe spotted flying in reverse

Video shows why contact with Phobos-Grunt failed

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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.

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Bond villains lament as Wicked Lasers withdraw death ray
Want to arm that shark? Better get in there quick
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
The next big thing in medical science: POO TRANSPLANTS
Your brother's gonna die, kid, unless we can give him your, well ...
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
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.
Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?