Russia's Failed Mars Probe Will Crash to Earth

Phobos-Grunt, carrying toxic fuel, will come down in mid-January
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 28, 2011 5:11 PM CST
In this Nov. 9 photo, the Zenit-2SB rocket with Phobos-Grunt (Phobos-Ground) blasts off from its launch pad at the Cosmodrome Baikonur, Kazakhstan.   (AP Photo/Oleg Urusov, pool)
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(Newser) – A failed Russian spacecraft will plummet back to Earth next month, and more than two dozen chunks of it could make impact, along with a load of toxic fuel. The expected crash date of the Phobos-Grunt probe is mid-January, and nearly 400 pounds of fragments could survive re-entry, reports Fox News. The Russian probe launched last month—it was going to land on one of the moons of Mars and collect samples— but failed to hit its planned trajectory. It's too early to predict where it will come down, but NASA's best bet, as usual, is in an ocean somewhere.

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