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 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 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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ELI5: Why do they say that Israel would have been the fourth country to land a spacecraft on the Moon and why do they call it low cost?

In the news they say that Israel hoped to become the fourth country to land a spacecraft on the Moon. Only government space agencies from the former Soviet Union, the US and China have made ...
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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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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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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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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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Why is Philae not provided with a propulsion system?

Rosetta is en route to rendezvous with Chury. Briefly, the mission comprises an orbiter, and a lander. The latter named Philae. Wikipedia writes to say ... The lander is designed to touch down ...
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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 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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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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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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Is there a crewed moon lander currently (March 2019) in the works

Recently, the US vice president directed NASA to land astronauts on the moon within the next 5 years [source]. While there are big rockets (SLS, Falcon Heavy, etc.), and crew capsules (Orion, Crew ...
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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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Is it easier to land on Europa/Io than on Mars? What are the main considerations?

Europa orbits Jupiter at an average speed of 13.7 km/s. At the same time Jupiter orbits the Sun at a speed of 13.1 km/s. This means that Europa has an orbital speed relative to the Sun of 26.8 km/s ...
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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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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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How difficult is it to convert a hypergolic based Moon human lander to a cryogenic one?

Recently a study performed by Aerojet Rocketdyne indicated that in order to achieve a 2024 landing using storable propellants will be required. Given that NASA is looking to reduce program risk in any ...
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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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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 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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 (also linked here): Raw data: http://live.spaceil.com/data/data_s1....
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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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Chandrayaan 2: Why is Vikram Lander's life limited to 14 Days?

I do know that the 13-14 days of its scheduled life is limited by the duration of sunlight and once the far side of the moon goes dark, the lander will be in temperatures as low as -170° Celsius. But ...
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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,...