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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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Why is Beresheet doing a only a one-way trip?

Why is the SpaceIL Lunar Lander doing a one-way trip? Is that a common project to do nowadays, to send landers to Mars and the Moon without returning them?
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Where is the debris in the Hayabusa 2 touchdown video coming from?

In the video of the touchdown of Hayabusa 2 (https://www.engadget.com/2019/03/06/hayabusa2-probe-ryugu-touchdown-video/) no debris is visible until touchdown. After that, there is a lot of it (though ...
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Why don't SpaceIL's Beresheet spacecraft and Moon orbits line up?

The question Tracking SpaceIL Beresheet Moon lander links to some data files that are from the site: http://live.spaceil.com Raw data: http://live.spaceil.com/data/data_s1.txt (22/2 - 12/4) ...
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Does the Dragonfly project (quadcopters on Titan) envision attached RTG's or would they be static and revisited for charging?

In this answer I link to the Phys.org article Researcher sets eyes on Saturn's largest moon which describes the Dragonfly project, a way to explore extended areas of Titan's surface difficult to probe ...
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Fate of human-made objects on mars

Now that Opportunity is dead, and since there are ideas for future human missions to Mars, I wonder if there is a project to collect all our rovers and landers or at least label as historical sites ...
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What did JPL's 1939 lunar lander look like and what practical aspects of landing on the Moon did this engineering design address?

According to Wikipedia's Jet Propulsion Laboratory: During JPL's Army years, the laboratory developed two deployed weapon systems, the MGM-5 Corporal and MGM-29 Sergeant intermediate range ...
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Chang'e- 4 safeguards to biological Contamination on the moon?

What kinds of safeguards does Chang'e 4, China's lander on the dark side of the moon use, in order to prevent biological contamination on the moon? How well are they documented?
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Where is that lunar-grown cotton seed sprout?

Most of us have seen this picture of the cotton seed currently sprouting inside a Chinese lander on the far side of the moon: Source The image shows see a plastic grid with a gelatinous overlay of ...
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How to communicate with a lunar polar mission?

We can easily communicate with a spacecraft on the Moon on the near side. The Far Side allows for a L2 halo communication relay satellite easily enough. How would a polar mission communicate with ...
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Colors of the Moon totally different in the pictures taken by Chang'e-4 in comparison with the Apollo photos. Why?

None of the pictures taken by Chang'e-4 Chinese lunar probe (see the attached images) in January 2019 have colors similar to the photos taken by Armstrong, Aldrin and the other 10 astronauts. The ...
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Transmission time per day for Chang'e 4?

Congratulations for the sucessfull landing on the back side of the Moon. There is continuous line of site available for radio connection from the lander to the Queqiao relay satellite at the Earth-...
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Chang'e 4, what is planned during December 12 and January 3?

Chang'e 4 is in Moon orbit since December 12, the landing is scheduled for January 3. What is planned during the 22 days in orbit?
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Mars InSight mission. From dull to shiny copper in just 8 days?

In just 8 days, that hexagonal piece of equipment installed on the InSight lander changed its general appearance from dull to shiny copper (see image 1 and 2). How is it possible? Img. 1. Nov 26, ...
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Will Chang'e-4 really take a month to “get to the Moon”? With what trajectory?

The Verge's This weekend, China embarks on a historic mission to land on the far side of the Moon says (near the end): We know that the mission is set to launch on top of one of China’s Long March ...
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Brushing clean a Mars lander's solar panels

A comment by SF. regarding the InSight Mars lander caught my attention: I really, really wonder why they didn't just include a small compartment with a duster brush grippable by the robotic arm. ...
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Could InSight lift off and move somewhere else?

InSight used its built-in thrusters for the final stretch of the Entry, Descent and Landing, and the thrusters seem to still be attached. Would it have been at all possible for InSight to lift off ...
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How many sundials or sun compases are there on Mars?

According to https://www.seis-insight.eu/en/public-2/seis-instrument/rweb Sundial Around the handle is a small sundial, which enables geophysicists to estimate the azimuth— i.e. the ...
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How was InSight's vertical seismometer (accelerometer) tested in Earth's stronger gravity?

The BBC article InSight Diary: The silence of space tells an interesting story and has an interesting audio recording of InSight's seismometer signals sped up to audio frequency, made while in ...
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Why is InSight's nylon parachute a “soft good”?

NBC News' Mars InSight's landing team leader is all 'nerves and excitement' ahead of risky touchdown includes a conversation with Rob Grover, "who leads the team in charge of InSight's landing at NASA'...
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Why didn't NASA use the “Sky Crane” method for landing the InSight mission on Mars?

The "Sky Crane" was able to land Curiosity on Mars which weighs about 900 kg. The InSight lander weighs about 358 kg. Why was a new landing method designed, instead of re-using all components of a ...
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What are the tradeoffs of circularly unfurling solar panel over linearly deploying solar panels?

Martian landers like Phoenix and Insight uses circularly unfurling solar panels. The regular satellites make use of linearly unfurling panels. What are the primary reasons why linear unfurling ...
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During its final descent, how will the InSight lander know cardinal directions in order to land with proper orientation?

As explained in @karthikeyan's answer the InSight lander will rely upon its landing system to orient the lander properly, so that once on the ground instruments such as the RISE antennas will be ...
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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, ...