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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Can the Mars lander's/rover's solar panels be cleaned?

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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10 votes
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When things land on Mars what fraction of their velocity do they remove propulsively?

Some recent comments have got me wondering about this What is the distance between one of the mars's satellite revolving near the highest volcano olympus mons and the volcano olympus mons? comments ...
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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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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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Is there independent evidence that China landed a robot on Mars in May 2021?

I would like to know if there is independent evidence of any kind that China landed a robot on Mars in May 2021? As of May 16, 2021, the last news on CNSA (China National Space Administration) site is ...
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9 votes
2 answers
491 views

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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During final descent how will InSight 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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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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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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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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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 kind of rocket will ESA(?) launch from Mars? Who will build it?

The NASA-credited images below are from the BBC News article Europe pushes ahead with 'dune buggy' Mars rover which explains that it will drive around quickly on it's big 70 cm wheels (see article for ...
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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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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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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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Exactly what was Surveyor 3 doing with a spring-loaded boxing glove-like device?

The thorough moon.NASA.gov/exploration page Moon Missions shows the image below. I learned almost all of what I know about Physics and Engineering from the Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner cartoons, ...
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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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Why hasn't NASA planted a stationary lab on Mars yet?

Why does NASA send rovers such as Curiosity instead of remotely building a small building on the surface of Mars?
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What type of onboard radar did the Surveyor landers use?

The Surveyor landers are the second generation of US lunar spacecraft following the Ranger series. They paved the way for the later soft landings of Apollo. What type of onboard radars were used in ...
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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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Are there methods of lightning detection on Mars?

Teslarati's NASA’s next Mars rover will pave the way for humans includes the graphic below which is an artists conception of a dust storm on mars. It shows what looks like lightning or some kind of ...
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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 3B ...
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Premature detonation of explosive bolts when landing on hot Venus?

@Uwe's comment below Parachute material used for the Venera probes to survive 500 °C raises an interesting issue. Venus is really hot, and pyrotechnic actuators (e.g. explosive bolts, frangible ...
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How many sundials, Sun compasses and gnomons are there on solar system bodies?

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 orientation of ...
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What's the exact location (lat/lon) of Zhurong?

Thus far, CSNA has announced the landing location as 109.7 E, 25.1 N. On Mars, 0.1 degree is about five km. Most Mars landers/rovers have been found in orbital imagery, and their lat/lon measured ...
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What is the purpose and necessity of this giant structure being used in tests of China's Mars lander?

Question: What is the purpose and necessity of this giant structure being used in tests of landing hovering and searching techniques to be used by China's Mars lander? It is shown in images (and a ...
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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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3 votes
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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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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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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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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!

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 ...
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16 votes
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How are planetary landers to low gravity bodies (asteroids/comets) designed?

How are planetary landers to low gravity bodies (such as the Moon, asteroids) designed to hold on to the surface without bouncing off after touching the surface?
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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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27 votes
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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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12 votes
1 answer
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Do lunar landers communicate with ground stations during descent and landing?

In about one day China's Chang'e 3 will land on the moon in a fully autonomous way, which is pretty exciting and I think especially the autonomous hazard avoidance system is just amazing. However, I ...
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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 ...
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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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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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What would the Venus landers look like today?

Between 1966 and 1985, several probes, mostly of Soviet design, successfully landed on Venus. Many of them continued operating long enough to send back audio, images, and various measurements, though ...
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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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Did the Viking landers detect life on Mars?

The two Viking landers had an experiment on board where they attempted to find life on the planet. The initial results said yes, there was life, but later there were questions raised about the results....
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Parachute material used for the Venera probes to survive 500 °C

The Venera landers of the former Soviet Union were quite successful on the very hot surface of Venus. Which material was used for the parachutes to survive 500 °C? What about cotton wool? Yes this ...
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Why do all recent proposed lunar landers have payloads on top?

Every recently-proposed vacuum lander I've seen has its payload as far off the ground as possible. This necessitates cranes, ladders, and elevators to get things down. (Starship may be a partial ...
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What factors are considered when choosing a Mars lander landing site?

NASA seems to have a mission planned to send a 2016 lander to Mars, and they say that they are in the process of choosing landing targets. What factors are considered when selecting these sites?
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Why was there never a lander for the Martian north polar cap?

Since the Martian poles are water ice caps, belong to the most likely locations on Mars to host life, and the north pole being the most likely place for a crewed mission, it seems reasonable that one ...
8 votes
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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 the crashed Mars Express lander be imaged by the MRO orbiter?

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has taken direct images of the MSL Curiosity rover, its parachute, heat shield and sky crane. Could it image, or has it even already, the failed Mars Express lander ...
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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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