Mars Small Stations

The Mars 96 orbiter (which would have been named Mars 8 had it left Earth orbit successfully) carried four surface elements: two landers ('Small Stations') and two penetrators. These would have enabled a network of simultaneous measurements to be made. The mission was delayed by one launch window, before which it was known as Mars 94. Subsequent Mars missions were planned to carry balloons and rovers but were abandoned after the Mars 96 failure. The Small Stations (Figure 17.5) carried an international payload and were intended to operate for an extended period, with an extremely small power budget. The objectives of Martian network science are still being pursued through other proposed missions.

Target Mars

Science goals Exploration of the dynamics and structure of the atmosphere, the role of water and other materials containing volatiles, studies of atmospheric boundary layer processes, surface chemistry and geology, to obtain new information on the puzzle of an intrinsic magnetic field, and to study the interior of Mars by recording seismic activity Prime contractor IKI/NPO Lavochkin

Launch site, vehicle Launch date Arrival date

Landing site co-ordinates (planned) Nominal lifetime on Mars


Payload experiments

Delivery architecture

Thermal aspects

Power aspects

Communications architecture

EDL architecture

Landing speed(s) Active operations

(deployments, etc.) Key references

Baikonour, Proton 8K82K/11S824M (on Mars 96 orbiter) 16/11/1996

(planned for 12/09/1997)

Small Station 1 Small Station 2

1 Earth year

87 kg separation mass

33 kg lander including airbags

12 kg payload

• PANCAM panoramic camera (Linkin, Runavot)

• DESCAM descent camera (Lipatov, Hua, Runavot)

• SIS seismometer (Lognonne)

• MAG magnetometer (Menvielle, Musmann) & inclinometer

• APX alpha-proton-X-ray spectrometer (Rieder, Economou)

• MIS meteorology instrument system (Harri):

• PTUW P,T, humidity & wind sensors (Harri, Linkin)

• ODS optical depth sensor (Pommereau)

• DPI descent phase instrument (accelerometer & T sensor) (Lipatov)

• MOx Mars oxidant experiment (Lane)

The Project Scientist was Viacheslav M. Linkin. The Finnish part was co-ordinated by Risto Pellinen. The French part was co-ordinated by Jacques Blamont

Spin-up to 12 rpm and separation from orbiter 4-5 days before orbit insertion.

RHUs, RTG heat and insulation to maintain payload temperature within ±55 °C. Heat power 8.5 W Two 238Pu RTGs (total 440 mW) and NiCd secondary battery, plus Li battery for descent phase

Relay at 8 kbits-1 via Mars 96 orbiter or MGS. Link from orbiter to lander was only for initiation of data transmission from lander, i.e. no commanding capability. Receiving frequency: 437.100 MHz, transmitting frequency: 401.5725 MHz Entry at 5.75 km s-1 1 m diameter ablative aeroshell with wing-like stabiliser at rear. Parachute cover release and main parachute deployment, aeroshell separation, inflation of 2 airbags at 4-10 km altitude. Jettison of airbags 20 ms-1 vertical, 20 ms-1 horizontal Spring-loaded opening of petals, deployment of antenna/ sensor boom, deployment of MAG, APX and MOx booms Several papers in Planet. Space Sci. 46(6-7), 1998, including Linkin et al., 1998; Pellinen and Raudsepp, 2000

Figure 17.4 Mars 2, 3, 6, 7.


17.5 Mars 96 small stations

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