Russian blames space radiation for Phobos-grunt failure

Feb 1, 2012
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Russia has been strongly hinting for a while now that the US might have had something to do with failure of its Phobos-grunt probe. The probe failed to fire its engines and move out of Earth orbit to head towards Mars, and eventually fell back into the atmosphere where most of it burned up. Many of Russia's own scientists said that the thought the US had something to do with the failure of the probe was incorrect and that Russia should look at failures within the probe itself.

It was reported that Russia had asked the US to participate in the investigation to determine if a radar station in Alaska could have interfered with the navigation system of the probe causing its failure, which the US declined to participate in. Russia has now come back and offered the official explanation what caused Phobos-grunt to crash. Russia's Federal Space Agency head Vladimir Popovkin has now announced that space radiation caused a glitch in onboard computer systems of the probe, which led to its crash.

The Russian government commission that was investigating the failure has ruled out any external or foreign influence on the failure of the probe. The failure of Phobos-grunt marks the 17th failure of a Russian attempt to send probes to Mars.

“Two components of the onboard computer system were spontaneously rebooted and it switched into a standby mode,” Vladimir Popovkin said.

“The most likely reason [for the glitch] is the impact of heavy charged space particles,” he said.

[via Ria.ru]


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