AstronomyDigital ArtRoboticsScience

So long, little robot. You tried. And that’s all we can ask.

As of Friday, EAS has decided to stop trying to communicate with the Russian Phobos-Grunt (or Fobos-Grunt) probe which didn’t make it out of Earth’s orbit on its mission to Phobos. I think it’s fair to say that the most likely outcome now is a mid-January re-entry. Thankfully, NASA’s Curiosity is safely on its way to Mars and expected to land next summer.

But, as a robot tinkerer, mushy sentimentalist and serial-anthropomorhiser, I believe that every little robot deserves to be remembered and every mission to learn more about our universe, no matter the outcome, is a special thing deserving proper credit for trying. So, I’d like to say farewell to Phobos-Grunt, the little robot probe who tried, in a positive way.

So long, little robot. You tried. And that’s all we can ask.
[click to see full image]

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I'm a technology nerd, sometimes artist and a science geek. I work at [redacted Ivy League university] where I run the Physics computing group. I'm also an organizer for the Boston Skeptics, a video nerd and I draw and read comics; mostly read these days. I like my beer like I like my science. That is, if science were pulled from a Guinness tap, which it is not. So... yeah. That last bit's wrong. You can find out more about me at and read my webcomic


  1. December 3, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    Poor Grunt.

    On another note: When I saw an article by you with that title pop up in my feed, I immediately thought that something bad happened to the Mad Art Bot :-O

  2. December 3, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    No, Maddy is fine except for a little congestion in her extruder (which I’m trying to remedy). 🙂

  3. December 4, 2011 at 1:38 am

    I like this post.

    When I look up to the night sky, I think of the ill-fated Mars Polar Lander, which nobody wants to remember.

  4. December 4, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    Not to mention the ill-fated Beagle 2. :/

  5. December 5, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    Aww this actually made me sad. Poor little guy.

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