The inclusion of Phobos Grunt in the Russian space programme for 2006–2015 means that Russia is, after a gap of more than ten years, set to return to the planets. Like the programmes of the Soviet period, the mission has its ambiguities. Phobos Grunt represents a victory for the ‘Venusians’, insofar as it does not compete directly with the United States or any other country, for no such mission is planned by them. Having said that, the timing puts it just ahead of the schedule of when the Americans do hope to get samples back from Mars. But in getting samples back from a Martian moon, the Russians will be able to claim, for the first time in a generation, a new, satisfying planetary ‘first’.
KeywordsDesign Bureau English Language Journal Mars Mission Phobos Grunt Interplanetary Mission
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