Update on failed Russian probe to Mars

Several weeks ago I wrote about a Russian probe that was launched to go to Mars.  The launch went great, but there was a problem once the probe was supposed to go towards Mars.  Russia couldn’t get those boosters to fire, which left a fully functioning probe uselessly orbiting Earth.  NASA tried to help, but was also unable to get the probe going towards Mars.

Unfortunately, the probe that has been in low-earth orbit has been degrading in its orbit and is now working its way back to earth.  Like so many other pieces of “space junk,” this will mostly burn up in the atmosphere, then crash whatever is left somewhere on our planet.  Phobos-Grunt is now visible to the naked eye as it passes overhead, and its details can be seen with a telescope.  Astronomer Theirry Legault captured a video from his telescope of the falling satellite–best-guess predictions are that the probe will enter the atmosphere around January 15.  As with all falling debris, chances are it will hit the ocean (since most of the earth is ocean), but no one knows yet where that will be.




~ by alanotte on January 5, 2012.

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