Moscow, Nov 27 (EFE) .- 50 years ago today the descent module of the Soviet apparatus Mars 2 became the first human-made artifact to reach the surface of Mars, although due to a navigation failure it ended up crashing in the red planet.
“Of course, Mars 2 was a very important stage in our Martian investigations, but the launch shortly after the Mars 3 apparatus was much more important,” academic Mikhail Márov, a direct participant in the planetary research program of the Soviet Union.
The twin Mars 2 and Mars 3 were launched in May 1971 only nine days apart and were made up of an orbiter and a lander.
EL MARCIANO, ONE OF THE PRIORITY PROGRAMS OF THE USSR
“In general, in the USSR, great attention was paid to the Mars research program and the launch of these devices in 1971 was, together with the Venus program, one of the main tasks of planetary research,” said the scientist.
He added that sending devices to the red planet involved great complexity at the time, since Soviet scientists did not have their ephemeris, the tables of values that allow establishing the positions of astronomical objects in the sky at a given moment or moments.
Márov indicated that the United States, thanks to its Mariner probes, had these “essential data for astro navigation: the ephemeris of Mars”, but they did not share them, since the spirit of confrontation and the Cold War prevailed.
THE RACE TO BE THE FIRST
“The Americans did not want us to be the first,” said the academic, adding that to compensate for the lack of such information, Soviet builders and engineers devised one-of-a-kind in-flight navigation systems.