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Questions tagged [lander]

Questions regarding devices used to make a controlled descent and touchdown onto another object, usually either to transfer objects, or perform scientific observations.

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How many solar system bodies have had coherent radio transponders?

A transponder amplifies, (often) frequency-shifts, and rebroadcasts a received signal. Old-style telephone and TV distribution satellites in GEO used simple transponders to rebroadcast the uplinked ...
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Has a lander/rover ever examined or photographed another mission?

Occasionally a lander or rover (manned or unmanned) will land close enough to a previous mission to enable examination or photographs of the previous mission to be taken by the new mission. What are ...
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Do the rovers in Hayabusa-2 communicate directly with the spacecraft or use the landers as relay?

I can't infer this from this documentation or the presentation: Do the ROVER-1A and ROVER-1B communicate with MINERVA-II-1, and it then relays to the Hayabusa2 "mothership", or do they communicate ...
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What criteria was used to select potential landing sites for Hayabusa-2's rovers on Ryugu?

The NYTimes' article Hayabusa2 Prepares to Drop Rovers on Asteroid Ryugu says Sept. 19 Rock Hoppers Hayabusa2 is preparing to deploy two small rovers this week, each about 7 inches wide. Ryugu’...
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How does this spinach-growing Mars lander design work?

@geoffc left a link in Chat to the extensive article in Nasa Spaceflight The Evolution of the Big Falcon Rocket. On the second page there is a bit of Mars vs Musk history: Musk’s ambitions of doing ...
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Avoiding rocks when landing on Mars

I'm landing an unmanned spacecraft on Mars (or substitute your astronomical body of choice here.) I would like to avoid rock outcrops and land on relatively soft soil. What kind of sensor could ...
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How much more expensive are scientific instruments for space use?

The discussion on How cold is the Martian sky at night? Or the day for that matter? made me wonder. How much more expensive are scientific instruments on spacecraft or landers, compared to their ...
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How exactly did the floor of an Apollo LM look like after EVA(s)? Seeking photo!

Almost five years ago I posted a question entitled "How was dust-mitigation addressed during the Apollo program?". While the question was answered rather comprehensively, it left me even more curious. ...
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Are the mountains of Venus of any help for us to explore the surface?

The circular orbit and small axial tilt results in no seasons, coupled with the well-known strong greenhouse that makes nights just as hot as days. As pressure gets lower by height, so does ...
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What is the deepest we have penetrated a terrestrial body other than Earth?

Curiosity drills 6.4 cm (2.5 inch) holes on Mars. Comet harpoons have been proposed for future space probes. There are a number of ways in which we can penetrate the surface of terrestrial bodies, but ...
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Does the Mars2020 lander need a new parachute design?

The EarthSky.org article Supersonic parachute test off Virginia coast March 27 and the linked YouTube video NASA’s Mars 2020 Supersonic Parachute: Test Flight #1 describes a recent test launched by a ...
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Why Never-EVER Land?

In this answer @Hobbes points out that data from the Huygens lander is still generating a high flux of new publications in 2018. One of them in the search results linked there is: Never-EVER Land - A ...
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What's the record for the longest time a deep space craft has functioned without a reboot?

The question How is Voyager 1 still operating? and the interesting comparison to the record times that Earthbound servers have run without reboot got me thinking about deep space spacecraft. I'm ...
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Why a donut-shaped balloon decelerator in the Aldrin-Purdue proposed Mars lander descent?

I saw this project linked within this excellent answer. Why is this proposed balloon (assisting in deceleration of the proposed Martian atmosphere entry) donut-shaped? Are there aerodynamic, stability ...
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Surveyor TD-339 engines - used on all US powered robotic landers?

I've read that derivatives of the original Thiokol TD-339 model of vernier engine for the Surveyor program was reused in the Viking program, and seen a hint that MSL was using the same heritage design,...
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How do landers communicate with Earth when facing away?

For example, how do the Mars landers communicate when Mars is between them and the Earth? The MRO is in a low orbit; does it store and forward data?
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Archimedean braking for low density Venus lander + subsidiary question

Subsidiary question: Imagine a sphere 10cm in diameter in low venusian orbit. Slow it down a little in order to deorbit it. What's the density of the sphere, in order to touch the ground at 0 vertical ...
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Could a Sun shield keep a rover cool daytime on Mercury?

If a rover on Mercury "roves" only at night when the surface is freezing cold, and before dawn unfolds a Sun shield of a few square meters above itself, under which it stays put all day. Would the ...
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Potential high temperature power sources for a Venus lander

What power sources are viable on a 'long term' Venus lander? An RTG relies on a temperature differential, and is not likely to be doable with a 457C 'cold side'. Based on this answer there is not ...
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Build an engine that burns tholins

My idea is to send an hypothetical lander/rover to Titan, and recover from this some samples of rocks... To create a very efficient engine, I suppose to carry only liquid oxygen, and burn the ...
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Insight on EDM Schiaparelli's IMU error and subsequent failed landing

Read this SpaceNews article which states,'1 second of Inertial Measurement error' caused the devastation in the Schiaparelli's landing sequence, causing it to free fall for 3.7 kms. What is exactly ...
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Is the entire underside of Schiaparelli one big crushable-structure?

The caption in this Space dot com video says that Schiaparelli will drop the last two meters, and the shock will be absorbed by a crushable structure. It is described in the text accompanying this ...
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Could Schiaparelli's retroreflector array (still) be used?

update 2: It appears Schiaparelli has already been located by satellite. This still represents the first laser ranging retroreflector array deployed beyond the Earth-Moon system! So assuming it is now ...
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What are the challenges to landing a spacecraft on Mercury?

I read that it would be more difficult to land (not crash land) on Mercury or even send a spacecraft in orbit around it because of the gravitational pull of the Sun and the lack of planetary ...
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What landings beyond Mars and the Moon are scheduled?

Recent years have brought us some interesting landings: Titan, the comet, the Chinese landed on the Moon, we got a lab the size of a SUV on Mars. Currently, Mars is in the focus of the West, while ...
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Will the 2018 Mars Dragon Lander be the largest lander on Mars to date?

Assuming the Dragon V2 will be the lander for SpaceX Mars mission launching in 2018, will it be the largest lander (either by weight or by size) that humans have put on Mars to date? Wikipedia has ...
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Since NASA's InSight Lander's launch has been delayed by two years, are there any plans to edit its payload?

A few days ago, NASA announced that, due to a vacuum leak in one of the instruments, they would have to delay InSight's launch for about two years. This is longer than it would take to fix the ...
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How could a hot lander enter Titan's atmosphere without setting its hydrocarbons ablaze?

Whenever a lander enters an atmosphere, it generates a lot of friction and that heats up the heat shield. On Earth we have seen videos of spacecraft with red-hot shields. On Saturn's moon Titan, ...
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Can a lander on an airless body BE a rover?

Rovers normally roll off a lander, or are otherwise deployed by one. When I look at the design of ATHLETE, it isn't hard to imagine a rocket engine bolted underneath it, and ATHLETE's legs doing the ...
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How would a robotic landing on an icy moon like Europa differ from landings on the Moon, Mars, Venus, Jupiter, Titan, asteroids, comets?

Europa has 13½% of Earth's surface gravity and no atmosphere, so an optimal landing on Europa might be similar to a classic propulsive Lunar landing. But with up to an hour communication time lag, ...
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What proportion of a space craft soft-landing on the Moon would be payload?

For a one-way robotic or cargo mission, with current technology, how much of a lander that touches down on the Moon wouldn't be propellant or rocket parts? Modern engines like the CECE by Aerojet ...
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Are there currently any plans for a Venus lander?

I am interested in what the surface of Venus looks like in true color, but have discovered that true color images of Venusian surface are rare, and am hoping that a lander mission is planned to take ...
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Why has no lander or rover visited Hellas Planitia on Mars?

While with this weeks discovery, I am sure everyone is waiting for the inevitable trip to Palantir Crater, I noticed that one Mars' largest crater, Hellax Planitia has never been visited by a lander ...
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Are there plans for a space probe to land on the crater of Olympus Mons?

I am curious as to what does the crater of Olympus Mons contain? Does NASA have any mission to send a space probe to land on it? If not, what about other parts in Olympus Mons?
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Where will NASA's InSight land on Mars?

Next year NASA is launching its InSight lander to Mars to study the rock deep below the surface, so they can try to understand how the planet formed. Where on the Martian surface will InSight land, ...
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If there was DNA in the “organics” of a comet could we tell?

A recent news article says that the lander Philae on comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko 67P, has discovered a rich array of organics and it quotes one leading scientist as saying it is a a frozen ...
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How does a lander get from orbit to the ground?

I've played a lot of Kerbal Space Program and always wondered: When in orbit around a body without an atmosphere, which trajectory does a lander take to approach and land using minimum delta-v, ...
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Why would TALISE be directed to the shore of Ligeia Mare?

TALISE (Titan Lake In-situ Sampling Propelled Explorer) is a proposed automated boat that would float in a lake called Ligeia Mare on Saturn's moon Titan. I saw an article that said once it touches ...
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Why did the Venera missions land so close together?

I was reading about the Venera missions to Venus, and saw this map on Wikipedia: Venera 7 is missing from the map for some reason, but it landed at 5° S, 351° E, so it would have been very close to ...
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How many extraterrestrial bodies have hosted a “lander” which returned images?

For the purposes of this question, we will consider a "lander" any probe which was sent to the surface of an extraterrestrial body or entered the atmosphere to a point which exceeds an air pressure of ...
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What cooling improvements did the Venera missions make?

I've been reading about Russia's (former Soviet Union) Venera missions, and one thing about them that has impressed me is the incremental improvements the landers made in their lifespans before ...
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How far can the supersonic parachute in the LDSD system for Mars be placed from the entry capsule?

In this interview on NASA Edge Ian Clark, principle investigator for the Low Density Supersonic Decelerator, talked about the environment the parachute part of the system has to operate in: ...
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Transfer people from orbiting spacecraft to surface of Mars

What are the proposed methods for transferring people from orbiting spacecraft to Mars surface specifically if multiple trips are required. Are there any that don't require a new heat shield for each ...
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Why did Philae the comet lander bounce?

After Rosetta released the lander, it bounced several times upon hitting the comet's surface and its two harpoons did not deploy. Why did the Philae's grabbing mechanism fail?
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Why aren't landers designed to point their solar panels and radio antennas to Sun and Earth?

Opportunity, the rover on Mars, is on its tenth year. Wow! But its solar panels are fixed flat on top of it. As are those of all interplanetary landers which I know of. Why aren't they designed to ...
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Next lander/rover mission

Beyond Mars and 67P, what is the next most viable mission for probe landing? How far are we from sending one to the Jupiter or Saturn system?
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How important are Philae's harpoons?

There is currently a question as to if the harpoons fired, that is undergoing review. But I have to ask, how important are they? From what I've heard, a single leg touching the right spot could be a ...
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Rosetta's lander, Philae will “anchor” itself on Comet 67P. What level of control can we have over this?

Rosetta's lander, Philae is scheduled to land on Comet 67P in November 2014. This will involve use of "harpoon" to anchor itself to make sure Philae remains attached to the surface despite weak ...
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Is lunar lithobraking 1. survivable and 2. cheaper than a rocket landing?

Lunar Lithobraking If your goal is simply to deliver a science package somewhere on the moon, might it be easier and cheaper to design the package to survive lunar impact? As an example, consider the ...
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Will the SuperDraco powered Dragon be able to “jump” on the Moon or Mars?

Does the Dragon reusability concept of SpaceX include the ability to reactivate the engines after landing to make a "jump" to a new soft landing location some kilometers or so away on the surface? Is ...