View Full Version : The "Mars Curse": Why Have So Many Missions Failed?

2008-Mar-22, 10:50 AM
Admittedly, Mars has drawn more space missions than the rest of the Solar System's planets, but why have nearly two thirds of all Mars missions failed in some way? Is the "Galactic Ghoul" or the "Mars Triangle" real? Or is it a case of technological trial-and-error? In any case, the Mars Curse has been a [...]

More... (http://www.universetoday.com/2008/03/22/the-mars-curse-why-have-so-many-missions-failed/)

2008-Mar-23, 09:13 AM
<sarcasm> Glad to know they came up with a scientific explanation. </sarcasm>

Lord Jubjub
2008-Mar-24, 01:19 AM
About half of the failures were Soviet losses from the '70s. Those failures are mostly launch or Earth de-orbit failures.

The U.S. failures were mostly landing attempt failures, which are couple of magnitudes harder to do that an orbit failure. I believe the U.S. has had only one orbit failure and about a dozen successes. Blame the metric system for that one failure . . .:whistle:

2008-Mar-24, 01:22 AM
That darn metric system! ;-)

2008-Mar-24, 02:08 PM
Blame the metric system for that one failure . . .

I remember vividly watching CNN with my sis when that report came in. I turned to her and said jokingly "What the...? Did somebody forget to go metric?"

And lo and behold! The truth comes out a few weeks later.

Beavis (or was it butthead?) missed the memo, and misplaced the conversion table at a most inopportune time.

2008-Mar-24, 07:55 PM
This is a good article. Some of the failure modes are assumed; based upon fault-tree and most likely scenario. The metric/English unit conversion error was real, but even with the bad navigation, the probe still should have been in a 'safe' orbital corridor.

The other story is how close Pathfinder, Spirit and Opportunity came to biffing it, especially Spirit. All three probes landed at near the burst limit of the air bags (~25m/s), well above the nominal impact velocity of ~15m/s.

Mars has been hard, and Phoenix gives us another chance to see just how hard Mars can be. Nothing routine about these Mars landing missions!