The first on the Red Planet. Why were the Soviet Mars rovers skiing?

& Nbsp; May 19 from Baikonur launched & nbsp; rocket “ Proton-K '' with the automatic interplanetary station “ Mars-2 '', after 9 days AMS “ Mars-3 '' went after it. He began to study (and then called on other enthusiasts to do this) high-resolution images of the proposed landing zone of the Soviet station. However, & nbsp; stops and so had to occur every & nbsp; 1.5 meters – for & nbsp; confirmation or course correction. Scientists did not know for sure what the surface of the Red Planet was, and therefore it was proposed to equip the vehicles with runners located on the sides and slightly raising their body. More precisely, go skiing. Exactly half a century ago, on November 27, 1971, a man-made object first reached the surface of the fourth planet from the Sun. Истoчник Unfortunately, the image is blurry & ndash; it was a gray background with no discernible detail. Signal reception and transmission from the Earth went through the lander. The runners were supposed to “ walk '' and move the car at a low speed – 1 meter per hour, and if it hits an obstacle, it will stop and wait for a command from the Earth, which could take up to 20 minutes. More “ Mars-3 '' & nbsp; did not get in touch. These & nbsp; devices have been designed and manufactured for five years by a team of specialists from the Leningrad & nbsp; VNIITransMash & nbsp; headed by design engineer & nbsp; Alexander Kemurdzhian. It was the Soviet Mars-2 spacecraft. He became the first & nbsp; man-made object to reach the surface of this planet. Each carried on board a small & nbsp; mobile device, similar to & nbsp; a box on runners & ndash; the first rovers in history PrOP-M. And the speed of the Martian wind at that time was so high (more than 140 meters per second) that it is surprising how the lander could survive and go into operation at all. This was the main task of the Soviet rover. December 2 station “ Mars-3 '' was able to sit down without damage, and this was already an achievement: the first successful soft landing on the surface of Mars in history took place. At the same time, the orbital station remained in the near-Martian orbit. If & nbsp; the location of all successfully spent vehicles is strictly fixed, then no one showed interest in the failed missions. & Nbsp; In 2012, this question was asked by a well-known blogger and popularizer of cosmonautics & nbsp; Vitaly Egorov. In search of a landing site As already mentioned, in 1971 & nbsp; & nbsp; the strongest dust storm broke out on Mars. After analyzing several hundred photographs of the planet's surface, Egorov discovered this place – it is located at & nbsp; the bottom of the Martian crater Ptolemy. It was impossible to predict it, and, alas, it was she who led to the collapse of the mission. The station & nbsp; began transmitting a panorama of the surrounding landscape to Earth. It was connected to the rover by a 15-meter cable, like an umbilical cord, providing it with power and controlling its movement. On board was also the world's first & nbsp; Mars rover ProP-M, the name of which stands for 'passability assessment device & nbsp; & ndash; Mars. & Nbsp; It is noteworthy that the exact landing site of Mars-3 for a long time it was not known. Before that, they worked on the first lunar rover. Having turned into an artificial satellite of the Red Planet, this device transmitted to Soviet scientists infrared radiometry, photometry, data on the composition of the atmosphere, magnetic field and plasma. '' It was supposed to measure the density of the soil, and the lander was supposed to transmit images of the surface of a distant planet to Earth. He was able to touch the ground of an inhospitable planet, but he could not drive a centimeter on it. & Nbsp; “Book” on skids The history of astronautics shows that & nbsp; it is easier to fly to Mars than to land on it: the atmosphere of this planet is & nbsp; very rarefied, to leave orbit at the required speed and carefully land the apparatus & ndash; extremely difficult task. She had her own research program, which she continued to carry out for 8 months. The dynamic & nbsp; penetrometer and & nbsp; gamma ray density meter & nbsp; were intended to measure the density and structure of the Martian soil. The blogger managed to recognize not only the lander, but also the parachute, the soft-landing engine and the aerodynamic braking screen. They were made in 2007 by an American satellite operating in near-Martian orbit. The first ever mission to the & nbsp; Red Planet was further complicated by the fact that by the time of its arrival a & nbsp; strongest dust storm had broken out on Mars, which lasted five months. On November 27, Mars-2 crashed during landing. Somewhere there, covered by Martian dust, rests the first rover in history, the ProP-M rover. Of course, it also had scientific instruments on it. But the rovers differed from him & nbsp; fundamentally, namely, the system of movement. The Soviet Union in May & nbsp; 1971 & nbsp; launched two stations at once. With their help, the device could determine on which side the obstacle was in order to retreat or try to get around it. & nbsp; Soon it went into working condition and & nbsp; with the help of a special manipulator launched the Mars rover ProP-M. After all, if the soil is loose, it is better to move on it on “ skis ''. The rover itself was the size of a thick book (25 x 22 x 4 centimeters) and had a mass of 4.5 kilograms. As experts later suggested, a corona discharge could occur in the transmitter antennas & nbsp; or the battery failed due to a dust storm. The rover was equipped with two thin rods at the front, which played the role of obstacle detection sensors. And after 14.5 seconds, the signal stopped altogether.