The unmanned Russian space probe, Phobos Ground, met its fiery end and crash landed in the Pacific Ocean south of Chile's coast after it failed its mission to reach a Mars moon.
The Phobus Ground probe’s mission was to travel to the Mars moon of Phobus but never made it out of the Earth's orbit due to engine malfunction, the Associated Press reported.
Scientists at Russia's space agency, Roscosmos, predicted the remnants of the Phobos Ground probe would land in the Atlantic between 1730 GMT and 1912 GMT and (12:30 p.m. EST to 2 p.m. EST).
Pieces of the Phobos Ground craft crashed into into the Pacific 775 miles (1,250 km) west of the coastal island of Wellington and the Earth’s atmosphere will leave left toxic 14-ton Phobus Ground probe little in harm’s way and, scientists said.
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The Russian space agency calculated by the time it has re-entered, the probe will be no more than 441 pounds split into more than 20 fragments.
The Russian Phobus Ground spacecraft successfully launched Nov. 8 into Earth’s orbit but its big boost engine never fired and attempts to fix the malfunction failed, the BBC reported.
Russia faced several failed Russian planetary exploration programs before the high-stakes Phobus Ground mission, leading to questions that Roscosmos didn’t have sufficient time and money in the harried project.
Agency head Vladimir Popovkin admitted to the Russian press this week that limited funds and out-of-warranty components may have played a role in Phobos-Ground's failure to leave Earth orbit.
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The mission would have marked a significant moment for Russia, if proved successful. It would have been the space agency’s first planetary mission beyond Earth in 15 years, according to the Los Angeles Times.
BBC further added:
“The mission was supposed to be the most exciting Russian space science venture in decades - an audacious bid to scoop up rocky fragments from the Martian moon Phobos and bring them back for study in Earth laboratories.”
But hopes to reach the Red Planet is not lost for Russia. The US and Europe invited Russia in a joint venture to join the ExoMars missions to Mars in 2016 and 2018.