Russian spacecraft to crash to Earth Jan 15

January 13th, 2012 - 8:23 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Jan 13 (IANS) The remainder of the crippled Russian spacecraft Phobos-Grunt is set to crash to the Earth Jan 15 following a botched mission to Mars, experts have said.

The craft has been in a low orbit around the Earth since losing contact with the ground shortly after its launch Nov 8.

It was intended to explore Phobos, one of the two moons of Mars, but became stranded while still orbiting Earth. Attempts to put it back on its original course have failed, the Daily Telegraph reported.

Most of its mass is expected to burn up as the craft re-enters the atmosphere but 20 or 30 pieces collectively weighing about 200 kg could reach the Earth. They could fall into an ocean.

Phobos-Grunt also contains large quantities of unused fuel that would burn or dissipate in the atmosphere.

Scientists said observers would be unlikely to see the debris crash to Earth unless they flew directly overhead in a clear sky. Chances of anyone being injured were also absolutely minute.

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