ROSKOSMOS: to find life on Jupiter

ROSKOSMOS: to find life on Jupiter

The probe floats in an icy void. Three years have passed since its launch at Baikonur, and a long road stretched a billion kilometers behind. The asteroid belt was safely crossed, fragile instruments withstood the brutal cold of world space. And ahead? Terrible electromagnetic storms in Jupiter’s orbit, deadly radiation and complex landing on the surface of Ganymede - the largest of the satellites of the giant planet.

According to the modern hypothesis, under the surface of Ganymede lies a huge warm ocean, which may be inhabited by the simplest forms of life. Ganymede is five times farther from Earth than the Earth, the 100-kilometer-long layer of ice reliably covers the “cradle” of cosmic cold, and Jupiter’s monstrous gravitational field “swings” the satellite’s core, creating an inexhaustible source of thermal energy.

The Russian probe must make a soft landing in one of the canyons on the icy surface of Ganymede. Within a month, he will drill ice to a depth of several meters and analyze samples - scientists hope to establish the exact chemical composition of ice impurities, which will give some ideas about the internal structure of the satellite. Some people believe that they can detect traces of extraterrestrial life. The most interesting interplanetary expedition - Ganymede will be the seventh celestial body *, on the surface of which earth probes will visit!

* In total, to date, Humanity has managed to “step” onto the surface of five celestial bodies: the Moon, Venus, Mars, Titan, and the asteroid Itokawa. The probe burnt in the upper atmosphere of Jupiter, dropped by the interplanetary station “Galileo” does not count. The launch of the OSIRIS-REx mission is scheduled for 2016 year, which will collect soil from the asteroid (101955) 1999 RQ36 in 2019 year.

Europa-P or the technical side of the project

If the words of Deputy Prime Minister Rogozin about the “mobilization” of the International Space Station can be viewed as a joke, then last year’s statement by the head of Roscosmos, Vladimir Popovkin, about the upcoming mission to Jupiter looks like a serious decision. The words of Popovkin fully coincide with the opinion of Academician Lev Zeleny, Director of the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, who in 2008 reported his intention to send a scientific expedition to Jupiter’s icy satellites, Europe or Ganymede.

Four years ago, in February 2009, an international agreement was signed on launching the Europa Jupiter System Mission integrated research program, in which, in addition to the Russian interplanetary station, the American JEO, European JGO and Japanese JMO station will go to Jupiter. It is noteworthy that Roskosmos chose for itself the most expensive, complex and most responsible part of the program - unlike other participants preparing only orbiters for the study of the four "large" satellites of Jupiter (Europe, Ganymede, Callisto, Io) from space, the Russian station should make the most difficult maneuver and gently "lean on" on the surface of one of the selected satellites.

Comparison of the size of the Earth, the Moon and Ganymede

Russian astronautics is heading for the outer regions of the solar system. The exclamation point is still early here, but the mood itself is encouraging. Reports from the depths of space look much more interesting than reports from the French Riviera, where some Russian officials are frolicking on vacation.
As in any ambitious project, in the case of the Russian probe for the study of Ganymede, there is a lot of skepticism, the degree of which ranges from competent and justifiable warnings to frank sarcasm in the style of “replenishing the Russian orbital group on the bottom of the Pacific Ocean”.

The first and, perhaps, the simplest question: why does Russia need this super-expedition? Answer: if we were always guided by such questions, mankind still sat in caves. Cognition and exploration of the universe - this is perhaps the main meaning of our existence.
It’s still too early to wait for any concrete results and practical benefits from interplanetary missions - just as it is to demand that a three-year-old child earn a living by himself. But sooner or later a breakthrough will occur and we will definitely need the accumulated knowledge about the distant cosmic worlds. Perhaps the cosmic “gold rush” will start tomorrow (adjusted for some Iridium or Helium-3) and we will have a powerful incentive to develop the Solar System. Or maybe we’ll sit on Earth for more 10 000 years, unable to step into outer space. No one knows when this will happen. But it is inevitable, judging by the fact, with what ferocity and indomitable energy a person changes new, previously uninhabited territories on our planet.

The second question related to the flight to Ganymede sounds more harsh: is Roscosmos capable of conducting an expedition of such magnitude? After all, neither the Russian nor the Soviet interplanetary stations have ever worked in the outer regions of the solar system. Russian cosmonautics was limited to the study of the nearest celestial bodies. Unlike the four small “inner planets” with a solid surface - Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars, the “outer planets” are gas giants, with completely inadequate dimensions and conditions on their surfaces (and in general, do they have any then the “surface”? According to modern concepts, the “surface” of Yuriter is a monstrous layer of liquid hydrogen in the depths of the planet under pressure of hundreds of thousands of terrestrial atmospheres).

But the internal structure of the gas giants is nothing compared to the difficulties that arise in preparing for the flight to the “outer regions” of the solar system. One of the key problems is connected with the colossal remoteness of these regions from the Sun - the only source of energy on board the interplanetary station is its own RTG (radioisotope thermoelectric generator), filled with tens of kilograms of plutonium. If such a “toy” were on board the “Phobos-Grunt”, the epic with the fall of the station to Earth would turn into a global “Russian roulette” ... Who would get the “main prize”?

Interplanetary automatic station "New Horizons". On the side, a black RTG with heat exchanger ribs sticks out.

However, unlike even more distant Saturn, the solar radiation in Jupiter’s orbit is still very sensitive - by the beginning of the XXI century, the Americans managed to create a highly efficient solar battery, which was equipped with a new interplanetary station “Juno” (launch to Jupiter in 2011). It was possible to get rid of an expensive and dangerous RTG, but the dimensions of the three Juno solar panels are huge — each 9 meters long and 3 meters wide. Complex and cumbersome system. What decision Roscosmos will take - so far no official comments have followed.

The distance to Jupiter 10 times the distance to Venus or Mars - therefore, the question arises about the duration of the flight and ensuring the reliability of the equipment for many years of work in open space.
Currently, studies are being conducted in the field of creating highly efficient ion engines for long-range interplanetary flights — despite their fantastic name, these are completely banal and fairly simple devices that were used in the orientation systems of the Soviet satellites of the Meteor series. The principle of work - from the working chamber the stream of ionized gas is expiring. The "super-motor" is the tenths of Newton ... If you put the "ion engine" on the small car "Oka", the car "Oka" will remain in place.

The secret is that unlike conventional chemical jet engines, which have been developing enormous powers for a short time, the ion engine runs quietly in outer space throughout the entire flight time to a distant planet. The tank of liquefied xenon 100 kg weighs tens of years of work. As a result, after a few years, the apparatus develops a fairly solid speed, and given the fact that the flow rate of the working fluid from the nozzle of the “ion engine” is many times higher than the flow rate of the working fluid from the nozzle of a conventional rocket engine, the prospects for acceleration of spacecraft up to speeds of hundreds of kilometers per second! The whole question is about the presence on board of a sufficiently powerful and capacious source of electrical energy to create a magnetic field in the engine chamber.

Ion engine spacecraft Deep Space-1

In 1998, NASA had already experimented with an ionic power plant aboard the Deep Space-1 spacecraft. In 2003, the Japanese Hayabusa probe, also equipped with an ion engine, went to the Itokawa asteroid. Whether the future Russian probe will receive a similar engine - time will tell. In principle, the distance to Jupiter is not as great as, for example, to Pluto, because the main problem lies in ensuring the reliability of the probe equipment and its protection from the cold and flows of cosmic particles. Hopefully, Russian science will cope with a difficult task.

The third key problem on the way to distant worlds sounds brief and concise: Communication!

Ensuring a stable connection with the interplanetary station - this question is not inferior in complexity to the construction of the “Tower of Babel”. For example, the Voyager-2 interplanetary probe, which in August 2012 left the probe of the Solar System and is now floating in interstellar space, is heading towards Sirius, which will reach Earth years through 296 000. At the moment, Voyager 2 is 15 billion kilometers from Earth, the power of the interplanetary probe transmitter is 23 W (like a light bulb in your refrigerator). Many of you shake your head in disbelief - consider the dim light of an 23-watt light bulb from a distance of 15 billion kilometers ... this is impossible.

For comparison: to overcome the distance 15 billion km, you need to continuously drive a car at a speed of 100 km / h for 17 thousands of years. Now look back and try to see the light of the refrigerator light at the beginning of the path.

However, NASA engineers regularly retrieve telemetry data from the probe at 160 bit / s. The signal of the Voyager-2 transmitter after the 14-hour delay reaches the Earth with energy 0,3 billionths of a trillionth of watt! And this is quite enough - 70-meter antennas of NASA's far-space communications nodes in the USA, Australia and Spain confidently receive and decode the signals of space wanderers. Another frightening comparison: the energy of the radio emission of stars, adopted for the entire existence of cosmic radio astronomy, is not enough to heat a glass of water at least a millionth of a degree! The sensitivity of these devices is simply amazing. And if a distant interplanetary probe correctly selects a frequency and orients its antenna towards the Earth, it will certainly be heard.

NASA's Space Remote Site in the southern hemisphere of the Earth. Canberra, Australia

Unfortunately, there are no ground infrastructure for remote space communications in Russia. The complex ADU-1000 “Pluto” (built in 1960 year, Evpatoria, Crimea) is able to provide stable communication with spacecraft at a distance of no more than 300 million kilometers - this is enough for communication with Venus and Mars, but too little when flying to “external the planets. "

However, the lack of the necessary ground equipment should not become an obstacle for Roscosmos - to communicate with the device in Jupiter orbit, powerful NASA antennas will be used. Still, the international status of the project requires ...

Finally, why was Ganymede chosen for research, and not Europe, which was more promising in terms of searching for the subglacial ocean? Especially since the project was originally designated as "Europe-P". What made Russian scientists reconsider their intentions?
The answer is simple and, to some extent, unpleasant. Indeed, it was originally intended to land on the surface of Europe.

In this case, one of the key conditions was the protection of the spacecraft from the effects of the Jupiter radiation belts. And this is not a far-fetched warning — the interplanetary station Galileo, which came out in 1995 on the orbit of Jupiter, received 25 lethal radiation doses to humans at the first orbit. The station was saved only by effective radiation protection.
Currently, NASA has the necessary technologies for radiation protection and shielding of spacecraft equipment, but, alas, the Pentagon has banned the transfer of technical secrets to the Russian side.

We had to urgently change the route - instead of Europe, Ganymede was chosen, located at a distance of 1 million km from Jupiter. Closer to the planet would be dangerous.

Small photo gallery:

Galileo probe for Jupiter, prelaunch, 1989,

Red-hot plutonium "tablet" from a radio isotope generator probe "Galileo"

Antennas for remote space communications ADU-1000 "Pluto", Crimea

The structure of Ganymede and Europe. Modern hypothesis

The interplanetary station "Juno" in the orbit of Jupiter, the artist's fantasy

View of Jupiter from the icy surface of Europe, on the right is another moon - Io
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  1. +10
    February 27 2013
    Really nicer to read than about couriers on Courchevel
  2. +2
    February 27 2013
    I hope the driller with his pomburi will safely return home from the shift.
  3. +3
    February 27 2013
    Unfortunately, there is no terrestrial infrastructure for long-distance space communications in Russia. The ADU-1000 Pluto complex (built in 1960, Yevpatoriya, Crimea) is able to provide stable communication with spacecraft at a distance no more than 300 million kilometers - This is enough to communicate with Venus and Mars, but too little when flying to “outer planets”.

    The main technical data of the RT_70 radio telescope (Galenki, Yevpatoriya)
    The size of the antenna mirror is 70 m. The area of ​​the mirror is 2500 sq.m.
    The height of the entire antenna is 83 m.
    The total weight of the entire structure is 5200 tons.
    The operating range of the complex is 10 billion km
    The radio signal travels this distance in 18 hours. If you imagine a radio line of two such antennas, then you could exchange information at a distance of 20 light years.
    1. +1
      February 27 2013
      The operating range of the complex is 10 billion km
      The radio signal travels this distance in 18 hours.

      A bit more 9 hours one way.

      If you imagine a radio line of two such antennas, then you could exchange information at a distance of 20 light years.

      And wait for each telegram for 20 years. recourse
    2. zambo
      February 27 2013
      Good afternoon, Ascetic.

      300 million kilometers and 10 billion kilometers - this is too much difference.

      Whose characteristic is, in fact, true !?
      1. 0
        February 27 2013
        Quote: zamboy
        300 million kilometers and 10 billion kilometers - this is too much difference.

        These are two different objects.

        Quote: Ascetic
        The operating range of the complex is 10 billion km
        The radio signal travels this distance in 18 hours.

        It’s strange. According to all calculations, there should be no more than 9 hours
        Maybe you mean radar? 9 hours each way
        1. zambo
          February 27 2013
          Evpatoria, Crimea. What are these different objects?
        2. +2
          February 27 2013
          Quote: SWEET_SIXTEEN
          Maybe you mean radar? 9 hours each way

          This is precisely what is meant. Back in 2009 Americans wanted to use the Russian station in an asteroid radar system.

          The American space agency NASA intends to use the powerful Russian long-range space communications radar RT-70 in the fight against asteroids.
          It is this commitment that NASA House of Representatives made to NASA at a meeting on June 18, during which the agency’s budget for 2009 was also approved in the amount of $ 20,2 billion.
          Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabaker, deputy chairman of the House of Representatives subcommittee on international organizations, said that powerful long-range space communications radars are needed to detect asteroids that threaten the Earth, and that Russia has such a radar. "The Russian RT-70 radar can make a certain contribution," said Congressman Rohrabaker.
          1. postman
            March 7 2013
            Quote: Ascetic
            This is precisely what is meant. Back in 2009 Americans wanted to use the Russian station in an asteroid radar system.

            nonsense, do not write about the impossible.
            combine the path of the asteroid, the motion of the Solar System, the motion of the Earth around the sun. The rotation of the Earth around its orbit,with "rigidly" fixed radar on the surface and ...
            and now try to "catch" the signal reflected from the asteroid.
            For reference:
            1. The speed (linear) of the Earth's rotation ( and "radar") - 465,1013 m / s (1674,365 km / h)
            2. Orbital velocity (Earth and "Radar" around the sun) -29,783 km / s (107 218 km / h)
            3.The speed of movement of the solar system (around the galactic nucleus) and the "radar" essno = 220 km / s
            Could you "STOP" on the "reflected signal from the asteroid?"
            Yes. If he is beyond the orbit of the moon, the baum is a radiolocatiri.
            Even VLBI mode will not help, although it was used, along with the Americans, only in 2009, and in 1992 by Toutatis and 1995 by Gol-Ev-Ka
            TOGETHER with Americans and others.
        3. postman
          March 7 2013
          Quote: SWEET_SIXTEEN
          Maybe you mean radar? 9 hours each way

          Yeah. Radar tracking and tracking belay
          1.You can imagine the power of such a "radar"?
          2. Beam divergence?
          3. Receiving antenna to catch this (response squeak)
          4. "Filtering" the signal?
          NOTE: approval required lol space / variable, so that at the moment of arrival of the "reflected" signal:
          a) Earth was at the required point
          b) The P-2500 radio telescope should be facing the incoming sinal (tReba to take into account the rotation of the Earth)
          c) Make a correlation on the movement of the solar system.
          WHAT OBJECT will we localize?

          Quote: SWEET_SIXTEEN
          View on Jupiter from the icy surface of Europe, another moon is visible on the right - Io

          Impressed. Did you shoot yourself?

          Photo of signal receiver \ (92 cm)
          1. 0
            March 8 2013
            Quote: Postman
            Yeah. Radar tracking and tracking

            The problem you raised is an intense one. at a glance - an insoluble task
            But how was planetary radar conducted in the 60 years?
            WORLD OF WORK MAY through Venus broadcast
            Refined data on the rotation of the planets
            Quote: Postman
            Impressed. Did you shoot yourself?

            I searched on the Internet myself
      2. +2
        February 27 2013

        The unmodified CKDS in Yevpatoriya twin Galenok where the modernization has already been completed (according to some estimates) had a working range 5 billion km

        “The power of the transmitter is 200 kilowatts. This is a lot,” says Arthur Agasiev, head of the control center of the Yevpatoria center for long-range space communications. “The range is about 5 billion kilometers. America has a similar SS complex, its range is less than 4 billion kilometers.


        There is information that the station in Galenki contacted the Voyager-1 spacecraft in 1995, which was at that time at a distance of 9.05 billion km from the Earth
    3. +3
      February 27 2013
      The antenna is great! My father worked there during the Venus projects! It is very interesting to listen to his stories. One of these stories was a story about a space station that was launched into orbit without a crew and lost communication, and the cosmonauts (of course) refused to fly there. There was a receiver on board, and a transmitter (which was out of order). So, in order to check if there was a fire there, they began to listen to this station, and "heard" the operation of the receiver! All the fire is gone, the cosmonauts flew.

      Sorry for the tongue-tied language)) I am not a radio engineer and this did not go to Batya)), and he told a story a long time ago when I was 14 years old. But I conveyed the meaning!
  4. djon3volta
    February 27 2013
    Secret Mars exploration program
    Perhaps American experts carefully filter information coming from the Red Planet

    2013-02-27 / Alexander Mikhailovich Portnov - Doctor of Geological and Mineralogical Sciences, Professor.
    The hypothesis that the Americans started a new information policy is quite noteworthy: they actively “darken”, hiding really interesting findings. Indeed, previous American probes and rovers have always reported sensational data. The valleys of huge rivers, grandiose volcanoes, a giant gorge Mariner, various sedimentary and igneous rocks, an abundance of the rare mineral maghemite on Earth were discovered. Finally, on Mars, obvious traces of a past life and artifacts very similar to technogenic ones were discovered. Some of these objects were depicted in NASA photographs, some were discovered by amateurs when enlarging and detailing small-scale photographs of NASA
    Photos were transferred of mysterious objects like pyramids, drawings on the rocks, “sculptures”, the foundations of buildings, UFOs, pipelines, tunnels, entrances to the bowels of the planet with “doors” and “hatches”, roads. Photos were transferred in which artifacts were found that looked like planks, shells, skulls of lizards and even anthropoid skulls. It would seem that one final step was left for the final conclusions: a detailed chemical analysis was needed.
    And now "Curiosity" with a set of chemical analyzers flew to Mars. Now technogenic objects can be identified. You can define glass, metals, alloys, which clearly testify in favor of a highly developed civilization. However, informational collapse has been going on for six months now. The rover, as it were, went blind and lost analyzers. As if he had failed and only the wheels seemed to spin.
    But the first pictures transmitted by “Curiosity” really turned out to be very curious: close to it, amateur astronomers noticed a characteristic look of the old “boot”; an object that looks like the outsole of a sandal, some kind of serpentine wire, a tube covered with a green coating. This even gave us reason to assume (see "NG-science" dated 10.10.12) that the rover sat right in the trash. A mysterious dome was visible on the horizon, in the sky above the mountains - a pair of moving UFOs ...
    By chance, I “caught” on the Internet a video from the moving Curiosity. A small metal (brass?) Detail was visible in the frame, similar to a cover from an old inkstand with some signs along the edge; an oval shadow flashed next to the rover, similar in shape and size to a tray. Half an hour later, this site disappeared from the World Wide Web. This Martian panorama appeared on one of the Internet sites. But literally after 30 minutes she was removed. Joke?
    Screenshot taken by the author from a computer monitor

    Totally here:
  5. Mr. Truth
    February 27 2013
    He is hollow! It is without bottom and without end! God, he is full of stars!
    1. prophet190
      February 27 2013
      Offset! I see you in the topic. So ours are simply obliged to send there a ship with three amers in addition. And that he would be called only Alexei Leonov !!
  6. 0
    February 27 2013
    Manned variant "Europa-Popovkin"
  7. +2
    February 27 2013
    I am glad that not all mankind has brains full of iPhones and dollars. There are still dreamers and discoverers left. Without such ideas and projects, we would "really still be sitting in caves." One thing is scary - how long will mankind last for this "sound optimism" and thirst for discovery. (and still dollars for discoveries, why dissemble)
  8. +5
    February 27 2013
    Well, let's start with the fact that the USSR has absolute priority in the use of plasma-ion engines. Our first attempt, in 1968, was very successful. We relied on plasma-ion accelerators (known as ultrasonic accelerators) - a simple undemanding "horse" with a monstrous resource. The so-called accelerators with an anode layer also had similar parameters. The Americans, on the other hand, have relied on clean ion engines.
    Their disadvantage is such a jewelry box in which a very thin mesh, in addition to its main work, was subjected to bombardment by a reverse ion flow. And as a result - a very miserable resource .. And the Americans successfully abandoned this venture ..
    When I worked at the Fakel Design Bureau (Kaliningrad) at the beginning of the 80s, there were dozens of plasma-ion engines per year there ... and of each type ...

    Now look at the picture above with the American ion engine. An annular gap is clearly visible there. Here on this gap during operation the ring Hall current walks .... This is the key moment of our version of the plasma-ion engine ..

    And now the question is - did the management of OKB Fakel go to the States in the 90s?
    Here are the consequences ..
  9. +4
    February 27 2013
    "About the sea, you need to ask the fisherman" - Japanese proverb. If you want to know about the latest results of "Curiosity", - welcome to the official NASA website. Welcome to Mars, a radiation-scorched, icy desert with humidity, according to the Russian DAN instrument, no more than a concrete floor. Something like that is not interesting, isn't it? And if you want more interesting, well then you need to watch REN-TV with the incomparable Anya Chakman or Igor Prokopenko. And they will tell you and even show you about not a dream, what a dream, but about a dream that is not a dream. But how interesting and the Moon is hollow, and Mars is inhabited and the wife is nearby, a representative of Venus, who would doubted wink , and mother-in-law is so generally a product of dark matter. Boots with bottles, skulls, skeletons, hatches, pyramids, cities and other "Martian attractions" have already been reached.
    I don’t know where the information about the 100km Ganymede ice crust came from, although I myself read that it can reach 900km, and was formed billions of years ago, as indicated by the structure of its landscapes similar to the Lunar ones. Everything is so far, so vaguely ... Well, they’ll fly, well, they’ll drill 100 meters and what ??? Achievement for the sake of achievement.
    Europe is unique and more interesting from a geological, and possibly from a biological point of view. The surface is almost without traces of meteorite impact, the bark is thin or it is renewed, then 100 meters can be enough to find out what is inside.
    But, whether we pull it, is that a question? Blur one thing, and do it, it is completely different.
  10. infidel2104
    February 27 2013
    The AMC should be left to the Americans. For 20 years Russia has not mastered a single project of this kind, and then immediately the most difficult mission to Jupiter. On the good, the Russian Federation must first put things in order in the space industry. Update infrastructure, new carriers, satellites. To create competitive private companies like the American Boeing, Lockheed-Martin, Northrop-Grumman, Space X. In Russia it still works according to the Soviet system, with state or semi-state design bureaus and NGOs, although it has long been gone no monitoring system, no training for such structures.
  11. 0
    March 3 2013
    In my opinion, the most urgent task of Roscosmos today is the task of detecting life in Roscosmos itself, otherwise the epileptic overcame the products of its vital activity. Such a "case" was not even at the dawn of Soviet cosmonautics, although they could only dream of modern technologies and other things then.
  12. 0
    March 8 2013
    The Chinese will soon sell down jackets in Ganymede

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