Mars 96 Penetrators

Main Scientific Objectives

    Imaging of the Martian surface
    Data on meteorology of the planet
    Chemistry of rocks
    Water content in Martian rocks
    Seismic activity of Mars
    Physical and mechanical characteristics of Martian regolith
    Magnetic field and magnetic properties of rocks

Scientific Payload

Main Performance Characteristics

	Entry velocity			5.6 km/s
	Impact velocity			80 ± 20 m/s
	Impact-induced overloading	< 500 g
	Maximum penetration depth	5 to 6 m
	Mass of penetrator		45 kg
	Mass of scientific package	4.5 kg
	Active lifetime			1 year

Entry and Landing

    The penetrators will be carried into martian orbit by the Mars 96 Orbiter. After several orbit maneuvers, taking between 7 and 28 days, to phase the orbit for communications to Earth, the Orbiter will be oriented in space for each penetrator release. After orienting the Orbiter, the penetrator to be released will be spun about its longitudinal axis for stability and released. The penetrator's solid rocket motor will be ignited after moving a safe distance away from the Orbiter; the burn will place the penetrator into a atmospheric entry trajectory. Entry occurs 21-22 hours later. It is possible to deploy both penetrators on a single orbit. In the martian atmosphere, the probes undergo aerodynamic braking, first using a rigid cone and then an air-inflated braking device, until a given velocity is reached to provide their penetration into martian regolith. The entry velocity is 4.9 km/s at an entry angle of 12± 2°. The landing site error ellipse is ± 4° (240 km) along-track and ± 0.5° (30 km) cross-track. The penetrator impacts the surface at a velocity of 80 ± 20 m/s and the forebody separates from the aftbody. The penetrating part of the probe forebody, carrying the scientific and housekeeping instrumentation, enters the regolith down to 5-6 m, while the aftbody, with the rest of the instrumentation, remains on the surface. Scientific studies begin after penetration. Data are relayed to Earth by the Orbiter.

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