Alexander V. Zakharov

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Alexander Valentinovich Zakharov
Born (1941-06-01) June 1, 1941 (age 76)
Nationality Russian
Alma mater Moscow Aviation Institute
Moscow State University
Scientific career
Fields Plasma physics
Institutions Russian Space Research Institute

Alexander Valentinovich Zakharov (Russian: Александр Валентинович Захаров, born June 1, 1941) is a Soviet and Russian chief scientist and astronomer serving at the Russian Space Research Institute[1] (IKI).

He was a lead scientist of the failed Mars missions, Mars 96 and Fobos-Grunt.[2][3]


Three days after the end of Mars 96, Zakharov came up to the conclusion that there was a flaw in the spacecraft control system, and proposed another attempt for another Mars mission.[4]

In 1999, he became a project scientist on the feasibility of the Fobos-Grunt sample return mission.[3]

In November 2007, he is interviewed by Mat Kaplan on Planetary Radio along with Bruce Betts and Tom Duxbury.[5]

In 2008, he became a member of The Planetary Society's Living Interplanetary Flight Experiment team. He was responsible for placing the LIFE biomodule into the return capsule.

He forwarded the letter about the Fobos-Grunt failure to the Planetary Society members.[6] After the probe's fall into the southern Pacific Ocean on January 15, 2012, he commented that this crash was a tragedy for the Russian scientific community, and that with soil samples from Phobos his team could uncover information about the solar system's origins.[7] Later, he told Reuters about the possible reasons of the probe stranded in low Earth orbit, but doesn't rule out something. He then suggested there was some kind of problem with the flight system or the programming, which were not designed to guard against the space radiation.[2]

He was hoping that Fobos-Grunt will be repeated as called by IKI's director Lev Zeleny and later acknowledged by Roscosmos in April 2012. However, with an agreement for cooperation with the European Space Agency on ExoMars had been reached, the space agency chose to focus on that program instead, but not ruled out any possible future Phobos sample return mission.[8][9][10][11]

Zakharov will be attending the Asia Oceania Geosciences Society AGU (WPGM) Joint Assembly from 13 to 17 August 2012 at Resorts World Sentosa, Singapore for the presentation on Mars Science and Exploration.[12][clarification needed]



  1. ^ Vergano, Dan (2012-01-08). "Underfunding doomed Russian Mars probe, lawyer says". USA TODAY. Retrieved 23 March 2012. mission scientist Alexander Zakharov of the Space Research Institute in Moscow 
  2. ^ a b de Carbonnel, Alissa (2012-01-31). "Russia blames Mars probe failure on space radiation". Reuters. Retrieved 27 February 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "Mars Moon Lander to Return Russia to Deep Space". The Moscow Times. 8 Nov 2011. 
  4. ^ "Life After Mars '96". Science NOW. 20 November 1996. Archived from the original on 21 June 2013. Retrieved 23 March 2012. 
  5. ^ ""To Phobos and Back"". "Planetary Radio". Episode 262. November 13, 2007. 00:25:52 minutes in. 
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ Sanderson, Katharine (January 18, 2012). "Phobos-Grunt Crashes Into the Pacific". Astrobiology Magazine. Retrieved 28 March 2012. 
  8. ^ Warmflash, David (2011-12-08). "Scientist: Russia's Failed Mars' Moon Probe Worth a Second Try". Retrieved 11 February 2012. 
  9. ^ "Russia's participation in the "ExoMars" does not cancel the plans for the "Phobos-Grunt-2"". RIA Novosti. 20 March 2012. Retrieved 3 April 2012. 
  10. ^ Konstantin Bogdanov (11 April 2012). "Russia to Go Back to the Moon Before Reaching for Mars". RIA Novosti. Retrieved 12 April 2012. 
  11. ^ "Russian scientists do not abandon the study satellites of Mars". Russia Today (in Russian). 13 April 2012. Archived from the original on 26 September 2012. Retrieved 17 April 2012. 
  12. ^ "AOGS - AGU (WPGM) Joint Assembly 2012". Archived from the original on 11 May 2012. Retrieved 12 April 2012. 

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