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Russia says Mars probe pieces may fall to Earth early next year

11-24-2011 16:05 BJT

MOSCOW, Nov. 24 (Xinhua) -- Fragments of Russian Mars probe Phobos-Grunt could fall to Earth in January or February next year, a Russian Defense Ministry space forces spokesman said Thursday.

"The situation as of November 24 indicates that pieces of the Phobos-Grunt interplanetary spacecraft are expected to fall in January-February 2012. The final date when Phobos-Grunt fragments fall would be changed by external factors," spokesman Alexei Zolotukhin told local reporters.

The spokesman said Russia's ground control center was still analyzing conditions of the probe, which also carries China's micro-satellite Yinghuo-1.

"Information about the space vehicle's changes in orbit is being forwarded to all the relevant parties," Zolotukhin said.

The Russian space agency, Roscosmos, said Wednesday it had started to study information received from Phobos-Grunt for the first time since it was lost on Nov. 9.

Roscosmos said the information could help understand the reasons behind the probe failure but would not save the mission as such.

Editor:Wang Xiaomei |Source: Xinhua

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