Russia's Mars probe crashes into Pacific
Updated: 2012-01-16 06:57
MOSCOW - Russia's failed Mars probe Phobos-Grunt has fallen into the Pacific Ocean, local media reported on Sunday.
The crash site of the spacecraft debris was 1,250 kilometers west of the Wellington Island of Chile, said Russian Aerospace Defense Forces spokesman Col. Alexei Zolotukhin.
Employees work on the Phobos-Grunt (Phobos-Soil) spacecraft, which has been constructed to retrieve the first ever soil samples from the surface of Phobos, one of the moons of Mars, in Baikonur in this October 31, 2011 file photo. [Photo/Agencies]
He told Itar-Tass news agency that Russia's space control network was monitoring the process of the falling which happened at 9:45 pm Moscow time (1745 GMT).
Earlier, experts said the 14-ton spacecraft carrying 11 tons of toxic rocket fuel might land somewhere in the southern Atlantic.
Most of the debris was expected to burn up in the atmosphere, but 20 to 30 chunks of charred debris, weighing about 200 kg, could make it to the surface, while the toxic fuel would burn in the atmosphere at a height of about 100 km, said Russia's Federal Space Agency Roscosmos earlier in a projection for the crash.
Phobos-Grunt, Russia's most ambitious planetary mission in decades, was launched on Nov 9 with the aim of exploring one of Mar's two moons, but it became stuck in Earth orbit due to a propulsion failure and radio contact was lost.