Search for Soviet Mars 6 Lander
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Search for Soviet Mars 6 Lander
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The Soviet Mars 6 lander arrived at Mars on 12 March 1974. The descent module entered the atmosphere and the parachute opened at 09:08:32 UT--the craft was collecting and returning data.

Contact with the descent module was lost at 09:11:05 UT, about when expected to encounter the surface.

Because we know that the parachute opened and have some idea where it was headed, we have a chance of locating the hardware on the surface with HiRISE. In fact, an anomalous small bright patch was seen by MRO's Context Camera (CTX) team, which a CTX team member then suggested as a target for HiRISE.

The bright parachutes were the easiest thing to spot on the ground at 5 of the 6 past successful landing sites. In this subimage we see the bright spot at full HiRISE resolution, and it appears to be a patch of relatively bright bedrock, with a pattern of thin lines (fractures) typical of such outcrops.

We'll keep trying to find this and other failed landers, but there is a lot of surface area to cover on Mars and the hardware may be covered by dust and look much like natural features on Mars.

Written by: Alfred McEwen   (15 February 2012)



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Acquisition date:26 December 2011 Local Mars time: 2:58 PM
Latitude (centered):-24.387° Longitude (East):341.228°
Range to target site:260.1 km (162.5 miles)Original image scale range:26.0 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~78 cm across are resolved
Map projected scale:25 cm/pixel and North is upMap projection:Equirectangular
Emission angle:6.5° Phase angle:57.1°
Solar incidence angle:61°, with the Sun about 29° above the horizon Solar longitude:48.6°, Northern Spring
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North azimuth:97° Sub-solar azimuth:46.3°
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North azimuth:270°Sub solar azimuth:219.6°

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For information about NASA and agency programs on the Web, visit: http://www.nasa.gov. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif., manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems is the prime contractor for the project and built the spacecraft. The HiRISE camera was built by Ball Aerospace and Technology Corporation and is operated by the University of Arizona. The image data were processed using the U.S. Geological Survey’s ISIS3 software.