Is The United States Trying to Restrict Access to Mars? Russia Has An Answer…
by, 01-16-2012 at 03:50 AM (1219 Views)
It’s no secret that Russia and the United States have a rich, tenuous history of battling each other for space supremacy – Sputnik launching, American spy planes being shot down, and Russian leader Nikita Khrushchev pounding his shoe on a desk — there’s been no lack of drama.
In the spirit of the 1960′s, Russia recently asserted blame for their latest space fail on the United States. Russia launched the Mars probe, dubbed Phobos-Grunt, on November of last year with its sights set on Phobos, Mars largest and closest moon.
Phobos-Grunt was expected to return soil samples from Mars around 2014, but now it’s expected to crash back to Earth in the next couple of days, carrying back with it 7.5 tons of toxic fuel.
How did this happen? Is it just another set-back in the Russian space program, one that comes just months after a space freighter carrying food and other items to the international space station broke up over Siberia? Or is there something else going on; was this a TARGETED attack by the United States to PREVENT Russia from ever getting to the Red Planet?
Vladimir Popovkin, director of the Russian space agency made this statement:
“We don’t want to accuse anybody…but there are very powerful devices that can influence spacecraft now…The frequent failure of our space launches…which occur at a time when they are flying over the part of the Earth not visible from Russia, where we do not see the spacecraft and do not receive telemetric information, are not clear to us.”
In which James Oberg, a NASA Veteran who worked in mission control specializing in orbital rendezvous techniques, responded:
“The Russians must know that simple geography — not evildoers lurking in shadows — dictate where their communications ‘blind spots’ are. But the urge to shift blame seems strong.”
An analysis from JEFFREY KLUGER, senior editor at Time Magazine and probably most known for being the author of Apollo 13, which was the foundation for the movie of the same name, echoes Oberg’s sentiments:
The U.S. would have nothing to gain and a whole lot to lose by monkeying around with a Russian Mars probe… It’s worth noting, too, that Roscosmos hardly needs us to help them NOT get to Mars. Since 1960, Russia has launched 19 missions to the Red Planet and has had precisely 19 partial or total failures…Space watchers in both the U.S. and Russia were rooting for this mission to succeed — as was China, which had a small Martian orbiter riding along.
So are the Russians incompetent or is the U.S. nefariously disrupting their program? The positions taken by the Russians, whether they believe them to be true or not, speak to the lack of unity in respects to the International Space Community.
What does the future of space travel look like when countries are more interested in blaming each other for their inability to launch probes to planets within plain sight, than fullfilling greater aspirations of discovering planets 7 million light years away together?
Even if the U.S. were “shooting down” probes with lasers, what prevents the Russians from developing the technology to avoid this? Conversely, what prevents them from reaching out and asking the U.S. for assistance (assuming that they haven’t) considering that the U.S. is on a 6 mission “winning streak” in space?
If the Earth’s space programs have aspirations of traveling to other planets and galaxies, sending a probe to Mars is the equivalent of an infant trying to remove its own pacifier. Internal conflict amongst human programs may be the most dangerous force facing humans at this juncture, and could be the biggest obstacle that holds back our space programs.
DISCUSSION: If we should ever encounter an alien intelligence bent on destroying humanity, would we be able to unify as a total species and combat such a force, or are we too conditioned to initially think and behave along purely nationalistic lines?