I Love Landers

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Are many of the future planetary missions going to be landers, or have a component that will be a lander? I would love to see a lander return to Venus and Titan, and have new ones land on Mercury and Europa. It seems to me that nothing captures the imaginations of people more than seeing images returned from the surface of other worlds, with the exception of manned landings, of course.


Hi AstroBrian,

Big welcome to SDC & I like the Ken Dodd avatar. :lol: :mrgreen: :lol:

You are not alone. I too love landers, cannot get enough of them.

I was part of the campaign to prevent the cancellation of the Phoenix Mars Lander & as you can see, we were successful.

I find it a huge thrill to see an alien planetary landscape from a HUMAN perspective & I love poruing over the images to try & build a picture of what we are looking at & ascertain a history of what hase happened there, something not so easy from remote sensing from orbiters, though obviously orbiters can do much of what landers cannot & vice versa.

Myself I would blitz several planetary bodies with a common type of lander equipped as follows.

1) Hi Res Multispectral PanCam.

2) Tilt meters.

3) Seismometers (if not rover, rover suspension dampens out quakes, unless a probe can be made to contact solid bedrock).

4) On board chemical labs (i,e similar to the Phoenix TEGA).

5) Arm with various micro imagers & samplers (like arms on the MERs & Phoenix).

6) Field & Particles detectors.

7) Weather station (if destination has an atmosphere dense enough to support weather).

Regarding choice of destinations, I agree with yours, would love to see Europa, Titan & Mercury landers / rovers (a few each & I am actually toying around with an idea of a pair of Mercury landers that I will submitting to both NASA & ESA, but of course this will be based on the excellent & hugely interesting & vastly overdue Mercury MESSENGER orbital mission, one of my favourite current ongoing missions).

Also how about Io (several), Ganymede (at least two), Callisto, Triton (at least two), Enceladus (at least two), Dione, Iapetus, Ariel, Titania, Oberon, many more to both Mars & the Moon. Several more to Venus would not go amiss either.

Largest Asteroid / Dwarf Planet 1 Ceres is also a very strong contender, at least two landers IMO, but that will be based on the DAWN orbital mission results (another mission who's campaign to prevent cancellation I was involved in). Perhaps 4 Vesta & 2 Pallas eventually possible lander destinations also.

Do not forget the upcoming Phobos Grunt, due to launch at the end of October, to land on the Mars Moon Phobos. There may also be a Deimos / Gulliver follow on, similar but to land on the smaller outer of the Mars moons.

But a lander anywhere is not boring. Perhaps a few different type of asteroids too.

I love landers full stop.

Unfortunately it's down to bean counters & budgets. The scientific case certainly exits & is very strong, but accountants are not scientists.

Andrew Brown.


Thanks Andrew for your response. I would love to see a landing mission to any body in the solar system. The ones that I listed are just some examples I would personally like to see happen. You hit the nail on the head when you mentioned the human perspective. Orbiters are great, but landers really give you that "you are there" feeling.
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