US/World

Russian Space Probe Crashes into Earth

Mars and Phobos
Creative Commons European Space Agency

The Russian space probe that was designed to land on one of the moons of Mars to gather rock and soil samples failed in its mission and crashed into the Pacific Ocean, Russian officials said on Sunday.

While there were no reports of injury or damage the Phobos-Grunt probe  fell as burning fragments into the Pacific Ocean, making it one of the most toxic space failures ever to crash into Earth.

As reported on MSNBC, the debris zone was said to be 775 miles west of Wellington Island in the South Pacific.

Russia’s Roscosmos space agency predicted that only 20-30 fragments of the Phobos probe with a total weight of up to 440 pounds would survive its re-entry into Earth.

The head of the European Space Agency’s Space Debris Office, Heiner Klinkrad told the Associated Press that he agreed with the above assessment and added that about 100 metric tons of space junk falls onto Earth every year.

The 14.9-ton space probe got stuck in Earth’s orbit shortly after its November 9 launch. Efforts to bring the Phobos-Ground back to life failed. The probe was set to collect soil samples from one of Mars’ twin moons, Phobos and bring it back for analysis in 2014.

 

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