Stamp in commemoration of Venera 8, the sister mission of Cosmos 482. Photo: Russian Federation
A Soviet probe launched almost five decades ago is expected to plunge to the surface over the next few years, according to a published report Monday on Space .com.
Launched on March 31, 1972 spacecraft Kosmos 482 was to travel to Venus as part of the Venera program of the Soviet Union. His sister probe, Venera 8, launched four days earlier and finally landed in July 1972 at the Venus. So she was the second lander to do this feat. The USSR is still the only nation that has landed operational probes on the surface of Venus.
If Cosmos 482 had left Earth's orbit for Venus like his sister, it would have become known as Venera 9. However, a watch on the spacecraft did not work According to NASA, the engine broke out before it could shoot the probe on its interplanetary trajectory.
Cosmos 482 split into pieces, and some of its fuel tanks crashed on April 3, 1
But while parts of the spacecraft desorbed quickly, the 1,000 pound spherical descent and landing capsule survived. This core payload has been orbiting the earth once every 112 minutes for almost 47 years.
A subsequent Soviet mission, launched in 1975, was named Venera 9. The first images of the surface of Venus or a strange planet were taken.
The black-and-white photos of Venera 9 by Venus. Image: NASA
Skywatcher and scientists have inspected the remains of cosmos 482 as they are between 125 and 1700 miles higher Our planet. Due to the observations of its slow orbital decay, this probe will fall to Earth within the next two to three years.
Since the probe was designed to withstand the scorching conditions of the Venus atmosphere and surface, this is likely to survive the atmospheric reentry and return to Earth relatively intact.
Thomas Dorman, an Oklahoma-based satellite tracker, told Leonard David of Space.com that he estimates the capsule will return to Earth by mid-2020.
"The relegation vehicle will survive I have a re-entry without any problems," said Dorman. "It would be weird if it had come down and the parachute had been set up […] but I'm sure the batteries for firing the pyrotechnics to release the parachute long ago died!"
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While this impending crash is a little bit disturbing, the likelihood that Cosmos 482 hits a populated area low. Hopefully the last remnants will sink into the sea instead of rushing back to rural New Zealand.
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