Phobos 2 Images of Mars and Phobos                                 


Phobos 2 was launched on July 12, 1988 on its way to orbit Mars.  Along with its sister craft,
Phobos 1, it was part of the first mission in what was to be a new wave of Soviet Mars exploration.
This new wave was not to be.  Phobos 1 failed on its way to Mars due to a ground controller error.
By the time Phobos 2 reached Mars, its main antenna had failed, forcing it to trickle back data at a
small fraction of the intended data rate.  And its computers were near failing.  The Phobos probes
had three identical computers which controlled them.  For every operation, the craft would do what
at least two of the three computers would tell it to do.  Not long into the mission, the first computer
failed.  As Phobos 2 approached Mars, a second computer began to falter.  Three months after
arrival, it failed as well.  The one remaining computer could not beat the two votes of the failed
computers, and thus could not control the spacecraft, which lost contact with earth  on March 27,
1989.  In 1991 the Soviet Union itself collapsed.  Along with it, the funding for planetary exploration
disappeared.  One more spacecraft from the new series, known as Mars '96 was launched, but its
upper stage failed, sending it plunging back to earth.  This marked the end of Soviet Planetary
exploration.  Before Phobos 2 failed, it did manage to send some images and other data back from
Mars.  This page contains some of the images it sent back. 



















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Use of these images requires permission of the author.         

Ted Stryk 2007