Military Review

Russians on Mars

14
Russians on Mars



The discovery of water on Mars and the Moon by European and American probes is primarily due to Russian scientists.
Behind the regular reports of new and new discoveries made by European and American missions, it eludes public attention that many of these discoveries have been made thanks to the work of Russian scientists, engineers and designers. Among such discoveries, one can especially single out the detection of traces of water on the nearest to us and, as it seemed, completely dry celestial bodies — the Moon and Mars. It is the Russian neutron detectors, working on foreign vehicles, helped to find water here, and in the future they will also be able to provide manned expeditions. The head of the Laboratory of Nuclear Physics Instruments of the Institute of Space Research (IKI) of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Candidate of Physics and Mathematics Maxim Mokrousov told Russian Planet why Western space agencies prefer exactly Russian neutron detectors.

- Spacecraft - and orbital, and descent, and planetary rovers - carry entire sets of instruments: spectrometers, altimeters, gas chromatographs, etc. Why are neutron detectors at many of them Russian? What is the reason?

- This is due to the victory of our projects in open tenders, which are carried out by the organizers of such missions. Like the competitors, we submit a proposal and try to prove that our device is optimal for this device. And now several times we have succeeded.

Our usual rival at such contests is the Los Alamos National Laboratory, the one where the Manhattan project was implemented and the first atomic bomb was created. And here, for example, to make a neutron detector for the MSL (Curiosity) rover our laboratory was invited specially, having learned about the new technology that we had. Created for the American rover DAN became the first neutron detector with active particle generation. It actually consists of two parts - the detector itself and the generator, in which electrons accelerated to very high speeds hit the tritium target and, in fact, a full-fledged, albeit miniature, thermonuclear reaction occurs with the release of neutrons.

Americans do not know how to make such generators, but our colleagues from the Moscow Research Institute of Automation named after Dukhov created it. In the Soviet years, it was a key center where "fuses" for nuclear warheads were developed, and today some of its products have a civil, commercial purpose. In general, such detectors with generators are used, for example, in the exploration of oil reserves - this technology is called neutron logging. We just took this approach and used it for the rover; so far no one has done this.

DAN Active Neutron Detector


Usage: Mars Science Laboratory Laboratory / Curiosity (NASA), from 2012 to the present. Mass: 2,1 kg (neutron detector), 2,6 kg (neutron generator). Power Consumption: 4,5 W (detector), 13 W (generator). Main results: detection of bound water in the soil at a depth of up to 1 m along the route of the rover.

Maxim Mokrousov: “Along almost the entire 10-kilometer route traveled by the rover, water in the upper layers of the soil was usually detected 2 – 5%. However, in May of this year, he came across an area in which either there are many times more water, or some unusual chemicals are present. Mars rover deployed and returned to a suspicious place. As a result, it turned out that the ground there is really unusual for Mars and consists mainly of silicon oxide. ”

- With generation, everything is about clear. How does neutron detection itself occur?

“We detect low-energy neutrons with proportional helium-3 counters — they work in DAN, LAND, MGSN and all our other instruments. A neutron caught in helium-3 “collapses” its core into two particles, which are then accelerated in a magnetic field, create an avalanche reaction and output a current (electrons) pulse.


Maxim Mokrousov and Sergey Kapitsa. Photo: From the personal archive

High-energy neutrons are detected in the scintillator by the flares that they create, falling into it, usually an organic plastic, such as stilbene. Well, gamma rays can detect crystals based on lanthanum and bromine. At the same time, even more efficient crystals based on cerium and bromine have recently appeared, we use them in one of our most recent detectors, in that it will fly to Mercury next year.

- And yet, why are Western spectators selected by Western spectators in such exactly open contests of Western space agencies, and other instruments are also Western, and Russian neutron detectors time after time?

- By and large, the whole thing is in nuclear physics: in this area we still remain one of the leading countries in the world. It's not just about weapons, but also about the mass of related technologies that our scientists are engaged in. Even during the USSR, it was possible to achieve such a good start, that even in the 1990s it was not possible to lose everything completely, but today we are again building up the pace.

It should be understood that the Western agencies themselves do not pay a penny for these our devices. All of them are made for the money of Roskosmos, as our contribution to foreign missions. In exchange, we get a high status of participants in international space research projects, and in addition, priority direct access to the scientific data that our tools collect.

We transmit these results after processing, so we are rightly considered to be co-authors of all the finds that were made thanks to our instruments. Therefore, all high-profile events with the detection of the presence of water on Mars and the Moon are, if not entirely, then our result in many respects.

We can once again recall one of our first detectors, the HEND, still working aboard the American Mars Odyssey probe. It was thanks to him that the map of the hydrogen content in the surface layers of the Red Planet was first compiled.

HEND neutron spectrometer


Usage: Mars Odyssey (NASA) spacecraft, from 2001 to the present. Weight: 3,7 kg. Power Consumption: 5,7 W. Main results: high-latitude distribution of water ice in the north and south of Mars with a resolution of about 300 km, observation of seasonal changes in polar caps.

Maxim Mokrousov: “Without false modesty I can say that at Mars Odyssey, which 15 will soon be in orbit for years, almost all devices have already started to fail, and only ours continue to work without problems. It operates in tandem with a gamma detector, in fact representing with it a single instrument covering a wide range of particle energies. ”

- Since we are talking about the results, what kind of scientific tasks perform such devices?

- Neutrons are the particles most sensitive to hydrogen, and if its atoms are present somewhere in the soil, neutrons are effectively inhibited by their nuclei. On the Moon or Mars, they can be created by galactic cosmic rays or emit a special neutron gun, and we, in fact, measure the neutrons reflected by the ground: the fewer of them, the more hydrogen.

Well, hydrogen, in turn, is most likely water, either in a relatively pure frozen form, or bound in the composition of hydrated minerals. The chain is simple: neutrons - hydrogen - water, so the main task of our neutron detectors is to search for water reserves.

We are practical people, and all this work is done for future manned missions to the same Moon or Mars, for their development. If you land on them, then water, of course, is the most significant resource that you will need to either deliver or extract locally. Electricity can be obtained using solar cells or nuclear sources. It’s harder with water: for example, the main cargo that today has to be delivered to cargo ships on the ISS is water. Every time they take it on 2 – 2,5 tons.

Neutron detector LAND


Usage: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (NASA) spacecraft, from 2009 to the present. Weight: 26,3 kg. Power Consumption: 13 W. Main results: detection of potential water reserves at the South Pole of the Moon; building a global map of the neutron radiation of the Moon with a spatial resolution of 5 – 10 km.

Maxim Mokrousov: “In LAND we already used a collimator based on boron-10 and polyethylene, which blocks neutrons on the sides of the instrument's field of view. He more than doubled the mass of the detector, but allowed us to achieve a higher resolution when observing the lunar surface - I think this was the main advantage of the instrument, which allowed us to bypass colleagues from Los Alamos again. ”

- How many such devices have already been done? And how much is planned?

- It is easy to list them: these are already working HEND on the Mars Odyssey and LAND on the lunar LRO, DAN on the Curiosity rover, and BTN-M1 installed on the ISS. Here it is worth adding the NS-HAND detector, which became part of the Russian Phobos-Grunt probe and, unfortunately, was lost with it. Now, at different stages of readiness, we have four more such devices.


BTN-M1. Photo: Space Research Institute RAS

The first of these, already next summer, will be the FRAND detector, which will become part of the ExoMars mission joint with the EU. This mission is very ambitious, it will include the orbiter, the descent module, and the small rover, which will be launched separately during 2016 – 2018. FRAND will work on an orbital probe, and on it we use the same collimator as on the lunar LAND to measure the water content on Mars with the same accuracy with which it was done for the Moon. In the meantime, for Mars we have these data only in a rather crude approximation.

It has long been ready and handed over to our European partners the Mercurian gamma and neutron spectrometer (MGNS), which will work on the BepiColombo probe. It is planned that the launch will take place in the 2017 year, while the last thermal vacuum tests of the instrument are already in the spacecraft.

We are also preparing instruments for Russian missions - these are two ADRON detectors that will work as part of the Luna-Globe descent vehicles, and then Luna Resource. In addition, the BTN-M2 detector is in operation. It will not only conduct observations onboard the ISS, but also allow working out different methods and materials to effectively protect astronauts from the neutron component of cosmic radiation.

BTN-M1 neutron detector


Use: International Space Station (Roscosmos, NASA, ESA, JAXA, etc.), from 2007 year. Weight: 9,8 kg. Power Consumption: 12,3 W. Main results: maps of neutron fluxes in the vicinity of the ISS were constructed, the radiation situation at the station was estimated in connection with the activity of the Sun, an experiment on the registration of cosmic gamma bursts was conducted.

Maxim Mokrousov: “Having taken up this project, we were rather surprised: after all, in fact, different forms of radiation are different particles, including electrons, and protons, and neutrons. At the same time, it turned out that so far no one really measured the neutron component of radiation hazard, and this is its especially dangerous form, because neutrons are extremely difficult to shield using conventional methods. ”

- To what extent can these devices be called Russian? Is the share of elements and parts of domestic production in them large?

- Full-fledged mechanical production has been established here, at IKI RAN. We also have all the necessary test facilities: a shock stand, a vibration test bench, a thermal vacuum chamber, and an electromagnetic compatibility test camera ... In fact, we only need third-party production for individual components, say, printed circuit boards. With this we are helped by partners from the Research Institute of Electronic and Computer Engineering (NIICEVT), a number of commercial enterprises.

Previously, of course, there were a lot of our tools, somewhere 80%, of imported components. However, now the new devices manufactured by us are almost completely assembled from domestic components. I think the import in them in the near future will be no more than 25%, and in the future we will be even less dependent on foreign partners.

I can say that in recent years, domestic microelectronics has made a leap forward. Eight years ago, in our country, electronic boards that were suitable for our tasks were not produced at all. Now there are Zelenograd enterprises “Angstrom”, “Elvis” and “Milandr”, there is Voronezh NIIET - the choice is sufficient. It became easier for us to breathe.

The most annoying - unconditional dependence on the manufacturers of scintillator crystals for our detectors. As far as I know, attempts are being made to grow them in one of the institutes in the Moscow region of Chernogolovka, but so far they have not been able to achieve the required size and volume of ultrapure crystal. Therefore, in this regard, we still have to rely on European partners, more precisely, on the Saint-Gobain concern. However, the concern in this market is a complete monopolist, so the whole world remains in a dependent position.
Author:
Originator:
http://rusplt.ru/sdelano-russkimi/russkie-na-marse-18520.html
14 comments
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  1. Angro Magno
    Angro Magno 30 August 2015 01: 55 New
    +6
    Expensively I will buy a bottle of vodka found on Mars by Amer astronauts.
    1. Enot-poloskun
      Enot-poloskun 30 August 2015 07: 35 New
      +8
      Yes, there is no such bottle!)))

      For Americans, Mars is a source of threat.

      Remember - from the radio show of the work of H. Wells "War of the Worlds", when entire cities were almost empty. The Americans, listening to the radio, thought that the Martians had arrived ... Or - "Mars attacks" and other rubbish ...

      And we have? We have - Mars - peaceful, albeit a god of war))) Remember: "And on Mars apple trees will bloom!"

      Or - the novel "Aelita". He's also peaceful. Except for the attempt at revolution)

      Therefore, Martians will not drink vodka with the Americans. Only with Russians!
    2. Bayonet
      Bayonet 30 August 2015 12: 04 New
      10
      Quote: Angro Magno
      Expensively I will buy a bottle of vodka found on Mars by Amer astronauts.

      The bottle has not yet been found, but there is something smile -
  2. bashmak
    bashmak 30 August 2015 05: 38 New
    +2
    Quote: Angro Magno
    Expensively I will buy a bottle of vodka found on Mars by Amer astronauts.

    GOOD LADY HAS NOT LAUGHED FOR SUCH A LONG TIME!
  3. aszzz888
    aszzz888 30 August 2015 06: 23 New
    0
    The discovery of water on Mars and the Moon by European and American probes is primarily due to Russian scientists.
    З


    Who is this information for?
    If for Russia - I agree. This is what I recently showed on TV the results of a survey of mericatos. They were asked a question - who was the first of the people in space.
    More than 95% answered that they were the first in space, i.e. merikatos.
    And here is the water on the moon.
    And no one will prove to them that this is Russia's merit.
    Although M. Zadornov calls them by his own name, they do not become smarter from this.
  4. sssla
    sssla 30 August 2015 07: 55 New
    +1
    Expensively I will buy a bottle of vodka found on Mars by Amer astronauts.

    During the "American landing on the moon" the newspaper Izvestia and the Sprat bank were found in a tomato, so the bottle is not the only rarity, AND NOT THE FIRST! And about Russian devices on their spacecraft))) then here's the answer if this is true with aszzz888 ---
    showed on TV the results of a survey of meerkatos. They were asked a question - who was the first of the people in space.
    More than 95% answered that they were the first in space, i.e. merikatos.
    And here is the water on the moon.
    And no one will prove to them that this is Russia's merit.
  5. Nymp
    Nymp 30 August 2015 08: 15 New
    +5
    When the Union collapsed, a lot of "brains" flowed to the west, but for loyalty to themselves and for the guarantee of a warm place for themselves, there, they took with them drawings of future discoveries (and more often not their own). Yes, two-thirds of the so-called "American technology" is plagiarism. So, the topic raised by the author is a drop in the ocean. Let them praise themselves as much as they want, but if VVP had not supplied them with our engines, they would only dream of Mars.
    1. dudinets
      dudinets 30 August 2015 10: 42 New
      +2
      Drawings are not technology. I’m no good at having calculator drawings if I have a factory of arithmometers. therefore, we have to buy engines from us. although they know their device.
      1. The comment was deleted.
      2. Aleksey_K
        Aleksey_K 30 August 2015 16: 05 New
        0
        Quote: Dudinets
        Drawings are not technology. I’m no good at having calculator drawings if I have a factory of arithmometers. therefore, we have to buy engines from us. although they know their device.

        You are mistaken, they stole both drawings and technologies, because they developed them.
    2. Bayonet
      Bayonet 30 August 2015 12: 11 New
      0
      Quote: Nymp
      blueprints for future discoveries

      That's cool! laughing Is there something to draw a couple of discoveries?
      1. Nymp
        Nymp 30 August 2015 15: 52 New
        +1
        I put it a little bit, but that's not the point. After the collapse of the USSR, the states made a techno leap, for the reason I mentioned above. But also because EBN himself ordered not to hide anything from American "friends".
    3. Aleksey_K
      Aleksey_K 30 August 2015 16: 01 New
      +1
      Quote: Nymp
      When the Union collapsed, a lot of "brains" flowed to the west, but for loyalty to themselves and for the guarantee of a warm place for themselves, there, they took with them drawings of future discoveries (and more often not their own). Yes, two-thirds of the so-called "American technology" is plagiarism. So, the topic raised by the author is a drop in the ocean. Let them praise themselves as much as they want, but if VVP had not supplied them with our engines, they would only dream of Mars.

      You are absolutely right! Moreover, after the death of Werner von Braun (a Nazi rocket smuggled out of Germany to America), Americans still cannot create their rocket engines and use his designs, which are gradually becoming obsolete.
  6. Justme
    Justme 30 August 2015 09: 22 New
    +2
    It’s nice to see that when the work is entirely dependent on intelligent and highly literate men, they intelligently and competently do the job
  7. Diviz
    Diviz 30 August 2015 17: 52 New
    0
    Soviet Union on left the vector. Now we are building it by coordinates. how slow. in just 15 years we’ll fly to Mars at best.
  8. Old26
    Old26 30 August 2015 23: 17 New
    +3
    Quote: Алексей_К
    You are absolutely right! Moreover, after the death of Werner von Braun (a Nazi rocket smuggled out of Germany to America), Americans still cannot create their rocket engines and use his designs, which are gradually becoming obsolete.


    Well, do not write nonsense? Okay?
    Or engine RS-84, RS-85, TR-106, TR-107 - is it Brown’s development ??
    Wow, how many years are in the grave, and everything for the Americans has been developing engines, although he has never been an engine operator.
    Everyone always remembers Werner von Braun and his influence on American developments and does not remember the influence of the works of Helmut Grettrup ...
    1. opus
      opus 31 August 2015 01: 53 New
      +3
      Quote: Old26
      Or the RS-84, RS-85, TR-106, TR-107 engine are Brown’s developments ??

      yeah ...
      as if there was no JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) of California Institute of Technology,

      American research rockets "Private" (1944), WAC "Corporeal" (1945), missiles with nuclear warheads MGM-5 Corporal ("Corporal") (1954), solid-fuel MGR-1 Honest John, MIM-14 Nike-Hercules, MIM- 3 Nike Ajax and so on
      Quote: Old26
      and do not remember the influence of the works of Helmut Grettrup ...

      and Dornberger?
    2. Aleksey_K
      Aleksey_K 31 August 2015 19: 46 New
      -3
      Quote: Old26
      Well, do not write nonsense? Okay?
      Or the RS-84, RS-85, TR-106, TR-107 engine are Brown’s developments ??
      Wow, how many years are in the grave, and everything for the Americans has been developing engines, although he has never been an engine operator.
      Everyone always remembers Werner von Braun and his influence on American developments and does not remember the influence of the works of Helmut Grettrup ...

      1.When one person says: "You are delusional" - this is an insult, you can say the same and softer. It is forbidden to insult each other on the site. Keep this in mind.
      2: Helmut Grettrup - German rocket engineer, control systems specialist, deputy Dr. Steinhof (head of the ballistic and guided missile control group in Peenemuende). He led a group of German rocket specialists, transported in Germany from 1946 to the island of Gorodomlya on Lake Seliger. After returning to 1953, Mr .. in West Germany made a significant contribution to modern information technology identification of customer data using electronic chips.
      3. Wikipedia: "Assessments of the contribution to the Soviet space program - from the very beginning, the leadership of the Soviet space program relied on independent development and education of its own specialists in rocket technology. Therefore, none of the projects of the Grettrup group in the USSR could be brought to fruition."
      4. How he created engines for Wernher von Braun, if he lived in the USSR - please explain and in communication with others try not to write phrases like "You are talking nonsense" - this is an insult.