Lander (spacecraft)
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A lander is a
spacecraft A spacecraft is a vehicle or machine designed to fly in outer space. A type of artificial satellite alt=, A full-size model of the Earth observation satellite ERS 2 ">ERS_2.html" ;"title="Earth observation satellite ERS 2">Earth obse ...

spacecraft
that descends towards, comes to rest on, the surface of an
astronomical body Astronomy (from el, ἀστρονομία, literally meaning the science that studies the laws of the stars) is a natural science Natural science is a branch of science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowled ...
. In contrast to an impact probe, which makes a
hard landing A hard landing occurs when an aircraft or spacecraft hits the ground with a greater vertical speed and force than in a normal landing. Landing is the final phase in flight, in which the aircraft returns to the Earth, ground. The average vertica ...
that damages or destroys the probe upon reaching the surface, a lander makes a soft landing after which the probe remains functional. For bodies with
atmospheres The standard atmosphere (symbol: atm) is a unit Unit may refer to: Arts and entertainment * UNIT, a fictional military organization in the science fiction television series ''Doctor Who'' * Unit of action, a discrete piece of action (or beat) in a ...
, the landing occurs after
atmospheric entry (MER) aeroshell, artistic rendition Atmospheric entry is the movement of an object from outer space into and through the gases of an atmosphere of a planet, dwarf planet, or natural satellite. There are two main types of atmospheric entry: uncon ...
. In these cases, landers may employ parachutes to slow them down enough to maintain a low
terminal velocity Terminal velocity is the maximum velocity (speed) attainable by an object as it falls through a fluid In physics Physics is the that studies , its , its and behavior through , and the related entities of and . "Physical science ...

terminal velocity
. In some cases, small landing rockets will be fired just before impact in order to reduce the lander's velocity. Landing may be accomplished by controlled descent and set down on
landing gear Landing gear is the undercarriage of an aircraft An aircraft is a vehicle or machine that is able to fly Flies are insect Insects or Insecta (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic langua ...
, with the possible addition of a post-landing attachment mechanism (such as the mechanism used by ''
Philae ; ar, فيلة; cop, ⲡⲓⲗⲁⲕ , alternate_name = , image = The-Temple-of-Philae-on-Agilika-Island.jpg , alt = , caption = The temple of Isis Isis (; ''Ēse''; ; Meroitic language, Meroitic: ''Wos'' 'a''or ' ...
'') for celestial bodies with low gravity. Some missions (for example,
Luna 9 Luna 9 (Луна-9), internal designation Ye-6 No.13, was an uncrewed space mission of the Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 ...

Luna 9
&
Mars Pathfinder ''Mars Pathfinder'' (''MESUR Pathfinder'') is an American robotic spacecraft that landed a base station with a rover (space exploration), roving probe on Mars in 1997. It consisted of a Lander (spacecraft), lander, renamed the Carl Sagan Memori ...

Mars Pathfinder
) used inflatable airbags to cushion the lander's impact rather than utilizing more traditional landing gear. When a high velocity impact is intentionally planned in order to study the consequences of impact, the spacecraft is called an impactor. Several terrestrial bodies have been subject to lander or impactor exploration. Among them are Earth's
Moon The Moon is Earth's only natural satellite. At about one-quarter the diameter of Earth (comparable to the width of Australia (continent), Australia), it is the largest natural satellite in the Solar System relative to the size of its plane ...

Moon
; the planets
Venus Venus is the second planet from the Sun. It is named after the Venus (mythology), Roman goddess of love and beauty. As List of brightest natural objects in the sky, the brightest natural object in Earth's night sky after the Moon, Venus can ...

Venus
,
Mars Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and the second-smallest planet in the Solar System, being larger than only Mercury (planet), Mercury. In English, Mars carries the name of the Mars (mythology), Roman god of war and is often referred to ...

Mars
, and
Mercury Mercury usually refers to: * Mercury (planet) Mercury is the smallest planet in the Solar System and the closest to the Sun. Its orbit around the Sun takes 87.97 Earth days, the shortest of all the Sun's planets. It is named after the Roman g ...

Mercury
; Saturn's moon
Titan Titan most often refers to: * Titan (moon), the largest moon of Saturn * Titans, a race of deities in Greek mythology Titan or Titans may also refer to: Arts and entertainment Fictional entities Fictional locations * Titan in fiction, fictional ...
; &
asteroid An asteroid is a minor planet of the Solar System#Inner solar system, inner Solar System. Historically, these terms have been applied to any astronomical object orbiting the Sun that did not resolve into a disc in a telescope and was not observ ...

asteroid
s &
comet A comet is an icy, small Solar System body A small Solar System body (SSSB) is an object in the Solar System The Solar SystemCapitalization of the name varies. The International Astronomical Union, the authoritative body regarding astr ...

comet
s.


Landers


Lunar

Beginning with
Luna 2 ''Luna 2'' ( rus, Луна 2}), originally named the Second Soviet Cosmic Rocket and nicknamed Lunik 2 in contemporaneous media, was the sixth of the Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (U ...
in 1959, the first few spacecraft to reach the lunar surface were impactors, not landers. They were part of the
Soviet The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a socialist state A socialist state, socialist republic, or socialist country, sometimes referred to as a workers' state or workers' republic, is a sove ...
Luna program The Luna programme (from the Russian word Луна "Luna" meaning "Moon"), occasionally called ''Lunik'' by western media, was a series of robotic spacecraft 250px, An artist's interpretation of the '' MESSENGER'' spacecraft at Mercury A rob ...
or the American
Ranger program The Ranger program was a series of unmanned space missions by the United States in the 1960s whose objective was to obtain the first close-up images of the surface of the Moon. The Ranger spacecraft were designed to take images of the lunar surf ...
. In 1966, the Soviet
Luna 9 Luna 9 (Луна-9), internal designation Ye-6 No.13, was an uncrewed space mission of the Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 ...

Luna 9
became the first spacecraft to achieve a lunar soft landing and to transmit photographic data to Earth. The American
Surveyor program The Surveyor program was a NASA program that, from June 1966 through January 1968, sent seven robotic spacecraft to the surface of the Moon. Its primary goal was to demonstrate the feasibility of Soft landing (rocketry), soft landings on the Mo ...
(1966–1968) was designed to determine where Apollo could land safely. As a result, these robotic missions required soft landers to sample the lunar soil and determine the thickness of the dust layer, which was unknown before Surveyor. The U.S.-crewed
Apollo Lunar Module The Apollo Lunar Module, or simply Lunar Module (LM ), originally designated the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM), was the lander spacecraft that was flown between lunar orbit and the Moon's surface during the U.S. Apollo program The Apollo ...
s (1969–1972) with
rover Rover or rovers may refer to: People * Constance Rover (1910–2005), English historian * Jolanda de Rover Jolanda de Rover (born 10 October 1963 in Amstelveen) is a female former backstroke swimming, backstroke swimmer from the Netherlands ...
s (1971–1972) and late Soviet large robotic landers (1969–),
Lunokhod Lunokhod ( rus, Луноход, p=lʊnɐˈxot, "Moonwalker") was a series of Soviet The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a socialist state A socialist state, socialist republic, or soc ...
s (1970–1973) and
sample return mission A sample-return mission is a spacecraft A spacecraft is a vehicle or machine designed to fly in outer space. A type of artificial satellite alt=, A full-size model of the Earth observation satellite ERS 2 ">ERS_2.html" ;"title="E ...
s (1970–1976) used a rocket descent engine for a soft landing of astronauts and lunar rovers on the Moon. The ''
Altair Altair () designated α Aquilae ( to Alpha Aquilae, abbreviated Alpha Aql, α Aql), is the brightest in the of and the in the . It is currently in the —a nearby , an accumulation of gas and dust. Altair is an ...
'' spacecraft, previously known as the "Lunar Surface Access Module" or "LSAM", was the planned lander for the
Constellation program The Constellation program (abbreviated CxP) was a crewed spaceflight Human spaceflight (also referred to as manned spaceflight or crewed spaceflight) is spaceflight Spaceflight (or space flight) is an application of astronautics Astro ...
prior to the cancellation of Project Constellation. NASA is developing vehicles that use a
rocket A rocket (from it, rocchetto, , bobbin/spool) is a spacecraft A spacecraft is a vehicle or machine designed to fly in outer space. A type of artificial satellite alt=, A full-size model of the Earth observation satellite ERS 2 ...

rocket
descent engine permitting them to land on the Moon and other locations. These vehicles include the Mighty Eagle lander and the Morpheus lander. The
Project Morpheus Project Morpheus was a NASA The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA; ) is an independent agency A regulatory agency or regulatory authority, is a Public benefit corporation Public-benefit corporation is a term that h ...
lander may have sufficient thrust to propel a crewed ascent stage. Russia has plans for the
Luna-Grunt Luna-Glob (russian: Луна-Глоб, meaning ''Lunar sphere'') is a Moon Exploration of the Moon, exploration programme by Roscosmos meant to progress toward the creation of a fully robotic lunar base. When completed, the programme will continue ...
mission to return samples from the Moon by 2021. The Chinese
Chang'e 3 Chang'e 3 (; ) is a Robotic spacecraft, robotic Exploration of the Moon, lunar exploration mission operated by the China National Space Administration (CNSA), incorporating a robotic Lander (spacecraft), lander and China's first lunar rover. I ...
mission and its ''
Yutu Yutu may refer to: Vehicles * Yutu (rover), a Chinese lunar rover ** Yutu-1, the rover on Chang'e-3 ** Yutu-2, the rover on Chang'e-4 Mythology * Jade rabbit or Yùtù ( zh, 玉兔), a rabbit in East Asian folklore that lives on the Moon * Youdu ...
'' (' Jade Rabbit') rover landed on 14 December 2013. In 2019, China's
Chang'e 4 , image_caption = ''Top'': Chang'e 4 lander on the surface of the Moon''Bottom'': Yutu-2 ''Yutu-2'' is the robotic lunar rover component of China National Space Administration, CNSA's Chang'e 4 mission to the Moon, launched on 7 Decemb ...

Chang'e 4
mission successfully landed the ''
Yutu-2 ''Yutu-2'' is the robotic lunar rover component of China National Space Administration, CNSA's Chang'e 4 mission to the Moon, launched on 7 December 2018 18:23 UTC, it entered lunar orbit on 12 December 2018 before making the world's first soft ...

Yutu-2
'' rover on the
far side of the Moon The far side of the Moon is the lunar hemisphere that always faces away from Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of ...
.
Chang'e 5 Chang'e 5 () is the fifth lunar exploration The physical exploration of the Moon began when ''Luna 2'', a space probe launched by the Soviet Union, made an impact on the surface of the Moon on September 14, 1959. Prior to that the only ...
and
Chang'e 6 Chang'e 6 () is a planned robotic Chinese lunar exploration mission expected to be launched in 2023 or 2024 and perform China's second sample return mission. Like its predecessors, the spacecraft is named after the Chinese moon goddess Chang'e. ...
are designed to be sample return missions. Chang'e 5 is currently scheduled for 2020, while Chang'e 6 is planned for 2023 or 2024.
Chang'e 5 Chang'e 5 () is the fifth lunar exploration The physical exploration of the Moon began when ''Luna 2'', a space probe launched by the Soviet Union, made an impact on the surface of the Moon on September 14, 1959. Prior to that the only ...
mission landed on the Moon on 1 December 2020, China completed the
Chang'e 5 Chang'e 5 () is the fifth lunar exploration The physical exploration of the Moon began when ''Luna 2'', a space probe launched by the Soviet Union, made an impact on the surface of the Moon on September 14, 1959. Prior to that the only ...
mission on 16 December 2020 with the return of approximately 2 kilograms of lunar sample. Lander ''
Vikram Vikram may refer to: * Vikram (name), a male name in the Hindu community * Vikram (1986 Tamil film), ''Vikram'' (1986 Tamil film) * Vikram (1986 Telugu film), ''Vikram'' (1986 Telugu film) * Vikram (upcoming film), ''Vikram'' (upcoming film) * Vikra ...
'' on
Chandrayaan-2 Chandrayaan-2 (, ; ) is the second lunar exploration The physical exploration of the Moon began when ''Luna 2'', a space probe launched by the Soviet Union, made an impact on the surface of the Moon on September 14, 1959. Prior to that th ...

Chandrayaan-2
, a maiden soft landing effort by the
Indian Space Research Organization The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO ) is the Government space agency, national space agency of India, headquartered in Bengaluru. It operates under the Department of Space (DOS) which is directly overseen by the Prime Minister of India ...
, lost contact to control on 6 September 2019, some minutes before landing.


Venus

The Soviet
Venera program The Venera (, , which means "Venus" in Russian) program was the name given to a series of space probe A space probe or a spaceprobe is a robotic spacecraft that doesn't Earth orbit, orbit the Earth (planet), Earth, but instead explores ...
included a number of
Venus Venus is the second planet from the Sun. It is named after the Venus (mythology), Roman goddess of love and beauty. As List of brightest natural objects in the sky, the brightest natural object in Earth's night sky after the Moon, Venus can ...

Venus
landers, some of which were crushed during descent much as Galileo's Jupiter "lander" and others which successfully touched down.
Venera 3 Venera 3 (russian: Венера-3 meaning ''Venus 3'') was a Venera program The Venera (, , which means "Venus" in Russian) program was the name given to a series of space probes developed by the Soviet Union between 1961 and 1984 to gat ...
in 1966 and
Venera 7 Venera 7 (russian: Венера-7, lit=Venus 7) was a Soviet The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a socialist state A socialist state, socialist republic, or socialist country, sometimes ...
in 1970 became the first impact and soft landing on Venus respectively. The Soviet
Vega program The Vega program (Cyrillic: ВеГа) was a series of Venus missions that also took advantage of the appearance of comet 1P/Halley in 1986. ''Vega 1'' and ''Vega 2'' were uncrewed spacecraft launched in a cooperative effort among the Soviet Un ...
also placed two balloons in the Venusian atmosphere in 1985, which were the first aerial tools on other planets.


Mars

The Soviet Union's
Mars 1962B Mars 2MV-3 No.1 also known as Sputnik 24 in the West, was a Soviet The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a federal socialist state in Northern Eurasia Eurasia () is the largest continenta ...
became the first Earth-based mission intended to impact on Mars in 1962. In 1971, the lander of the
Mars 3 Mars 3 was a robotic space probe A space probe or a spaceprobe is a robotic spacecraft that doesn't Earth orbit, orbit the Earth (planet), Earth, but instead explores farther into outer space. A space probe may approach the Moon; travel thr ...

Mars 3
probe conducted the first soft landing on Mars, but communication was lost within a minute after touchdown, which occurred during one of the worst global dust storms since the beginning of telescopic observations of the Red Planet. Three other landers,
Mars 2 The Mars 2 was an uncrewed space probe A space probe or a spaceprobe is a robotic spacecraft that doesn't Earth orbit, orbit the Earth (planet), Earth, but instead explores farther into outer space. A space probe may approach the Moon; tr ...

Mars 2
in 1971 and
Mars 5 Mars 5 (), also known as 3MS No.53S was a Soviet The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a socialist state A socialist state, socialist republic, or socialist country, sometimes referred to ...
and
Mars 6 Mars 6 (), also known as 3MP No.50P was a Soviet The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a socialist state A socialist state, socialist republic, or socialist country, sometimes referred to ...
in 1973, either crashed or failed to even enter the planet's atmosphere. All four landers used an aeroshell-like heat shield during
atmospheric entry (MER) aeroshell, artistic rendition Atmospheric entry is the movement of an object from outer space into and through the gases of an atmosphere of a planet, dwarf planet, or natural satellite. There are two main types of atmospheric entry: uncon ...
. Mars 2 and Mars 3 landers carried the first small skis-walking
Mars rover A Mars rover is a motor vehicle Electric bicycles parked in Yangzhou's main street, Wenchang Lu. They are a very common way of transport in this city, in some areas almost outnumbering regular bicycles A motor vehicle, also known as motorized ...

Mars rover
s that did not work on the planet. The Soviet Union planned the heavy Marsokhod Mars 4NM mission in 1973 and the
Mars sample return A Mars Sample-Return (MSR) mission is a proposed spaceflight mission to collect rock and dust samples on Mars and then sample-return mission, return them to Earth. Sample-return would be a very powerful type of exploration, because the analys ...
Mars 5NM The Mars program was a series of uncrewed spacecraft launched by the Soviet Union between 1960 and 1973. The spacecraft were intended to exploration of Mars, explore Mars, and included planetary flyby, flyby probes, Lander (spacecraft), landers an ...

Mars 5NM
mission in 1975, but neither occurred due to needing the N1 super-launcher that was never flown successfully. A double-launching Soviet Mars 5M (Mars-79) sample return mission was planned for 1979 but cancelled due to complexity and technical problems. ''
Viking 1 ''Viking 1'' was the first of two spacecraft A spacecraft is a vehicle or machine designed to fly in outer space. A type of artificial satellite alt=, A full-size model of the Earth observation satellite ERS 2 ">ERS_2.html" ;"t ...

Viking 1
'' & ''
Viking 2 The ''Viking 2'' mission was part of the American Viking program The Viking program consisted of a pair of identical American space probes, ''Viking 1'' and ''Viking 2'', which landed on Mars in 1976. Each spacecraft was composed of two m ...

Viking 2
'' were launched respectively in August & September 1975, each comprising an orbiter vehicle & a lander. ''Viking 1'' landed in July 1976 ''Viking 2'' in September 1976. The
Viking program The Viking program consisted of a pair of identical American space probes, ''Viking 1'' and ''Viking 2'', which landed on Mars in 1976. Each spacecraft was composed of two main parts: an orbiter designed to photograph the surface of Mars from ...
rovers were the first successful, functioning Mars landers. The mission ended in May 1983, after both landers had died. In the 1970s, the US planned the Voyager-Mars mission. This would have consisted of two orbiters & two landers, launched by a single
Saturn V Saturn V was an American human-rated super heavy-lift launch vehicle used by NASA between 1967 and 1973. A multistage rocket, three-stage, liquid-propellant rocket, liquid-fueled rocket, the Saturn V was developed under the Apollo program for ...

Saturn V
rocket, but the mission was cancelled.
Mars 96 Mars 96 (sometimes called Mars-8) was a failed Mars Mars is the fourth planet A planet is an astronomical body orbiting a star or Stellar evolution#Stellar remnants, stellar remnant that is massive enough to be Hydrostatic equilibri ...
was the first complex post-Soviet Russian mission with an orbiter, lander, penetrators. Planned for 1996, it failed at launch. A planned repeat of this mission, Mars 98, was cancelled due to lack of funding. The U.S. ''
Mars Pathfinder ''Mars Pathfinder'' (''MESUR Pathfinder'') is an American robotic spacecraft that landed a base station with a rover (space exploration), roving probe on Mars in 1997. It consisted of a Lander (spacecraft), lander, renamed the Carl Sagan Memori ...

Mars Pathfinder
'' was launched in December 1996 and released the first acting rover on Mars, named '' Sojourner'', in July 1997. It failed in September 1997, probably due to electronics failure caused by the cold temperatures. ''Mars Pathfinder'' was part of the canceled Mars Environmental Survey program with a set of 16 landers planned for 1999–2009. The
Mars Polar Lander The Mars Polar Lander, also known as the Mars Surveyor '98 Lander, was a 290-kilogram robotic spacecraft Lander (spacecraft), lander launched by NASA on January 3, 1999, to study the Martian soil, soil and Climate of Mars, climate of Planum Aust ...

Mars Polar Lander
ceased communication on 3 December 1999 prior to reaching the surface and is presumed to have crashed. The European ''
Beagle 2 The ''Beagle 2'' is an inoperative British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people, nationals or natives of the United Kingdom, British Overseas Territories, and Crown Dependencies. ** Britishness, the British ...

Beagle 2
'' lander deployed successfully from the ''
Mars Express ''Mars Express'' is a space exploration Space exploration is the use of astronomy Astronomy (from el, ἀστρονομία, literally meaning the science that studies the laws of the stars) is a natural science that studies ...

Mars Express
'' spacecraft but the signal confirming a landing which should have come on 25 December 2003 was not received. No communication was ever established and ''Beagle 2'' was declared lost on 6 February 2004. The proposed 2009 British ''
Beagle 3 Beagle 3 (also called Beagle 2: Evolution) was a proposed Mars Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and the second-smallest planet in the Solar System, being larger than only Mercury (planet), Mercury. In English, Mars carries the name ...
'' lander mission to search for life, past or present, was not adopted. The French/ESA
NetLander In late 2007 (or 2009) CNES The (CNES; French: ''Centre national d'études spatiales'') is the French government space agency This is a list of government agency, government agencies engaged in activities related to outer space and space ...
mission for 2007 or 2009, with an orbiter and 4 landers, was canceled because it was too expensive. Its successor, a multi-lander mission for 2011–2019 called Mars MetNet, was not adopted by the ESA. The American
Mars Exploration Rover NASA The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA; ) is an independent agencies of the United States government, independent agency of the Federal government of the United States, U.S. federal government responsible for the c ...

Mars Exploration Rover
s ''
Spirit Spirit may refer to: *Spirit (animating force) In folk belief, spirit is the vitalism , vital principle or animating force within all life , living things. As recently as 1628 and 1633 respectively, both William Harvey and René Descartes st ...
'' and ''
Opportunity Opportunity may refer to: Places * Opportunity, Montana, an unincorporated community, United States * Opportunity, Nebraska, an unincorporated community, United States * Opportunity, Washington, a former census-designated place, United States * 39 ...
'' were launched in June and July 2003. They reached the Martian surface in January 2004 using landers featuring airbags and parachutes to soften impact. ''Spirit'' ceased functioning in 2010, more than five years past its design lifetime. As of 13 February 2017, ''Opportunity'' was declared effectively dead, having exceeded its three-month design lifetime by well over a decade. The U.S. spacecraft '' Phoenix'' successfully achieved soft landing on the surface of Mars on 25 May 2008, using a combination of parachutes and rocket descent engines.
Mars Science Laboratory Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) is a robotic Robotics is an interdisciplinarity, interdisciplinary field that integrates computer science and engineering. Robotics involves design, construction, operation, and use of robots. The goal of robot ...
, which carried the rover ''
Curiosity Curiosity (from Latin ''wikt:curiositas#Latin, cūriōsitās'', from ''cūriōsus'' "careful, diligent, curious", akin to ''cura'' "care") is a quality related to inquisitive thinking such as exploration, investigation, and learning, evident by ...
'', was successfully launched by
NASA The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA; ) is an independent agency A regulatory agency or regulatory authority, is a Public benefit corporation Public-benefit corporation is a term that has different meanings in differen ...

NASA
on 26 November 2011. It landed in the
Aeolis Palus Aeolis Palus is a plain In geography Geography (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeas ...
region of
Gale Crater Gale is a crater Crater may refer to: Landforms *Impact crater, a depression caused by two celestial bodies impacting each other, such as a meteorite hitting a planet *Explosion crater, a hole formed in the ground produced by an explosion near ...

Gale Crater
on Mars on 6 August 2012. The China launched the
Tianwen-1 -1 (TW-1; zh, t=, s=, l='Heavenly Questions') is an interplanetary mission by the China National Space Administration (CNSA) to send a robotic spacecraft to Mars, consisting of 6 spacecrafts: an orbiter, two deployable cameras, lander (spacec ...
mission, in 23 July 2020. It includes an orbiter, a lander and a 240 kilograms rover. The orbiter was placed into orbit on 10 February 2021. The
Zhurong Zhurong (), also known as Chongli (), is an important personage in Chinese mythology Chinese mythology () is mythology Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it enc ...
successfully soft landed on 14 May 2021 and deployed on 22 May 2021 & dropped a remote camera on Mars on 1 June, 2021. Exploration of Mars#Future missions, Exploration of Mars including the use of landers continues to this day. Amongst them, Russia has planned a Mars sample return mission Mars-Grunt for around 2026.


Martian moons

While several flybys conducted by Mars orbiting probes have provided images and other data about the Martian moons Phobos (moon), Phobos and Deimos (moon), Deimos, only few of them intended to land on the surface of these satellites. Two probes under the Soviet Phobos program were successfully launched in 1988, but in 1989 the intended landings on Phobos and Deimos were not conducted due to failures in the spacecraft system. The post-Soviet Russian Fobos-Grunt probe was an intended sample return mission to Phobos in 2012 but failed after launch in 2011. In 2007 European Space Agency and EADS Astrium proposed and developed the mission to Phobos to 2016 with lander and sample return, but it stayed as a project. Since 2007 the Canadian Space Agency has considered a mission to Phobos called Phobos Reconnaissance and International Mars Exploration (PRIME), which would include an orbiter and lander. Recent proposals include a 2008 NASA Glenn Research Center Phobos and Deimos sample return mission, the 2013 Phobos Surveyor, and the OSIRIS-REx#OSIRIS-REx II, OSIRIS-REx II mission concept. The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) plans to launch the Martian Moons Exploration (MMX) mission in 2024, a sample return mission targeting Phobos. MMX will land and collect samples from Phobos multiple times, along with deploying a rover jointly developed by CNES and the German Aerospace Center (DLR). By using a corer sampling mechanism, the spacecraft aims to retrieve a minimum of 10g of samples. MMX will return to Earth in 2029. Russia plans to repeat its Fobos-Grunt mission around 2024.


Titan

The ''Huygens probe, Huygens'' probe, carried to Saturn's natural satellite, moon Titan by ''Cassini probe, Cassini'', was specifically designed to survive landing on land or on liquid. It was thoroughly drop-tested to make sure it could withstand impact and continue functioning for at least three minutes. However, due to the low-speed impact, it continued providing data for more than two hours after it landed. The landing on Titan in 2005 was the first landing on the planet's satellites outside the Moon. The proposed U.S. Titan Mare Explorer (TiME) mission considered a lander that would splash down in a lake in Titan's northern hemisphere and float on the surface of the lake for few months. Spain's proposed Titan Lake In-situ Sampling Propelled Explorer (TALISE) mission is similar to the TiME lander but has its own propulsion system for controlling shipping.


Comets and asteroids

''Vesta (spacecraft), Vesta'', the multi-aimed Soviet mission, was developed in cooperation with European countries for realization in 1991–1994 but canceled due to the Soviet Union disbanding. It included a flyby of Mars, where ''Vesta'' would deliver an aerostat (balloon or airship) and small landers or penetrators, followed by flybys of Ceres (dwarf planet), Ceres or 4 Vesta and some other
asteroid An asteroid is a minor planet of the Solar System#Inner solar system, inner Solar System. Historically, these terms have been applied to any astronomical object orbiting the Sun that did not resolve into a disc in a telescope and was not observ ...

asteroid
s with the impact of a large penetrator on one of them. NASA's canceled Comet Rendezvous Asteroid Flyby mission considered the launch in 1995 and landing of penetrators on a comet's nucleus in 2001. The first landing on a small Solar System body (an object in the Solar System that is not a moon, planet, or dwarf planet) was performed in 2001 by the probe NEAR Shoemaker at asteroid 433 Eros despite the fact that NEAR was not originally designed to be capable of landing. The ''Hayabusa (spacecraft), Hayabusa'' probe made several attempts to land on 25143 Itokawa in 2005 with mixed success, including a failed attempt to deploy a rover (space exploration), rover. Designed to rendezvous and land on a low-gravity body, ''Hayabusa'' became the second spacecraft to land on an asteroid, and in 2010 the first sample return mission from an asteroid. The ''Rosetta space probe, Rosetta'' probe, launched 2 March 2004, put the first robotic lander ''Philae'' on the comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, Churyumov–Gerasimenko on 12 November 2014. Due to the extremely low gravity of such bodies, the landing system included a harpoon launcher intended to anchor a cable in the comet's surface and pull the lander down. Japan (JAXA) launched the ''Hayabusa2'' asteroid space probe in 2014 to deliver several landing parts (including Minerva II and German Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout (MASCOT) landers and a Small Carry-on Impactor (SCI) penetrator) in 2018–2019 to return samples to Earth by 2020. The China National Space Administration, Chinese Space Agency is designing a sample retrieval mission from Ceres that would take place during the 2020s.


Mercury

Launched in October 2018 and expected to reach Mercury in December 2025, European Space Agency, ESA's BepiColombo mission to Mercury was originally designed to include the Mercury Surface Element (MSE). The lander would have carried a 7 kg payload consisting of an imaging system (a descent camera and a surface camera), a heat flow and physical properties package, an alpha particle X-ray spectrometer, a magnetometer, a seismometer, a soil penetrating device (mole), and a micro-rover. The MSE aspect of the mission was cancelled in 2003 due to budgetary constraints.


Moons of Jupiter

A few Jupiter probes provide many images and other data about its moons. Some proposed missions with landing on Jupiter's moons were canceled or not adopted. The small nuclear-powered Europa (moon), Europa lander was proposed as part of NASA's Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter (JIMO) mission that was canceled in 2006. Currently, the ESA is planning to launch the Jupiter Icy Moon Explorer (JUICE) mission in 2022, which includes the Russian Ganymede Lander making a soft landing on Ganymede (moon), Ganymede around 2033. In addition, NASA offered the ESA the opportunity to design a lander or impactor to fly alongside NASA's proposed orbiter in the Europa Clipper mission planned for 2025. As Europa is hypothesized to have Europa (moon)#Subsurface ocean, water beneath its icy surface, missions are sent to investigate its Planetary habitability, habitability and assess its Astrobiology, astrobiological potential by confirming the existence of water on the moon and determining the water's characteristics. Despite the high radiation environment around Europa and Jupiter, which would cause issues for robotic surface missions, Europa Lander (NASA), NASA's Europa Lander mission is still under consideration and there is steady lobbying for future missions. Russia's Laplace-P was proposed to be included as a part of the now-canceled joint NASA/ESA Europa Jupiter System Mission – Laplace, Europa Jupiter System Mission (EJSM)/Laplace mission but remains an option for future missions. Another proposal calls for a large nuclear power, nuclear-powered "melt probe" (cryobot) that would melt through the ice until it reached an ocean below where it would deploy an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV or "hydrobot") that would gather information.


Impactors


Deep Space 2

The Deep Space 2 impactor probe was to be the first spacecraft to penetrate below the surface of another planet. However, the mission failed with the loss of its mother ship, ''
Mars Polar Lander The Mars Polar Lander, also known as the Mars Surveyor '98 Lander, was a 290-kilogram robotic spacecraft Lander (spacecraft), lander launched by NASA on January 3, 1999, to study the Martian soil, soil and Climate of Mars, climate of Planum Aust ...

Mars Polar Lander
'', which lost communication with Earth during entry into Mars' atmosphere on 3 December 1999.


''Deep Impact''

Comet Tempel 1 was visited by NASA's ''Deep Impact (spacecraft), Deep Impact'' probe on 4 July 2005. The impact crater formed was approximately 200m wide and 30–50m deep, and scientists detected the presence of silicates, carbonates, smectite, amorphous carbon and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.


Moon Impact Probe

The Moon Impact Probe (MIP) developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), India's national space agency, was a moon, lunar probe that was released on 14 November 2008 by ISRO's Chandrayaan-1 lunar remote sensing orbiter. Chandrayaan-1 was launched on 22 October 2008. It led to the discovery of the Lunar water, presence of water on the Moon.


LCROSS

The Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) was a robotic spacecraft operated by
NASA The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA; ) is an independent agency A regulatory agency or regulatory authority, is a Public benefit corporation Public-benefit corporation is a term that has different meanings in differen ...

NASA
to perform a lower-cost means of determining the nature of hydrogen detected at the polar regions of the
Moon The Moon is Earth's only natural satellite. At about one-quarter the diameter of Earth (comparable to the width of Australia (continent), Australia), it is the largest natural satellite in the Solar System relative to the size of its plane ...

Moon
. The main LCROSS mission objective was to explore the presence of water ice in a permanently shadowed crater near a lunar polar region. LCROSS was launched together with the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) on 18 June 2009, as part of the shared Lunar Precursor Robotic Program. LCROSS was designed to collect and relay data from the impact and debris plume resulting from the launch vehicle's spent Centaur (rocket stage), Centaur upper rocket stage striking the crater Cabeus (crater), Cabeus near the south pole of the Moon. Centaur impacted successfully on 9 October 2009, at 11:31 UTC. The "shepherding spacecraft" (carrying the LCROSS mission payload) descended through Centaur's plume of debris, and collected and relayed data before impacting six minutes later at 11:37 UTC. The project was successful in discovering water in Cabeus.


MESSENGER

The NASA ''MESSENGER'' (Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry, and Ranging) mission to Mercury launched on 3 August 2004 and entered orbit around the planet on 18 March 2011. Following a mapping mission, ''MESSENGER'' was directed to impact Mercury's surface on 30 April 2015. The spacecraft's impact with Mercury occurred near 3:26pm EDT on 30 April 2015, leaving a crater estimated to be 16m in diameter.


AIDA

The ESA's AIDA (mission), AIDA mission concept would investigate the effects of impact crashing a spacecraft into an asteroid. The Double Asteroid Redirection Test, DART spacecraft will impact asteroid 65803 Didymos's moon Dimorphos in 2022, and the Hera spacecraft will arrive in 2027 to investigate the effects of the impact.


See also

* List of artificial objects on the Moon * List of artificial objects on Mars * List of artificial objects on Venus


References


External links

{{Spaceflight Spaceflight concepts Soviet inventions Landers (spacecraft), Space probes