Russia’s doomed Phobos-Grunt probe, intended to explore a moon of Mars, will crash down to Earth around about January 15, reports Radio Free Europe.
The probe was intended to reach Mars’ moon, Phobos, and examine soil samples. However, following its launch it failed to evade the Earth’s orbit. Now, it’s going to come tumbling down.
Much of the probe is expected to break up in the Earth’s atmosphere, however, some solid debris is expected to remain, presenting an opportunity for the Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee.
Christian Science Monitor reports that the body, comprised of representative from international space authorities will use the falling probe to sharpen computer tools used for re-entry predictions.
It is expected that the probe’s “sample-return” capsule will be the largest part of debris falling from the sky. The capsule was designed to return soil samples from Mars’ moon to Earth. Additionally, the probe also contains a large load of unused toxic fuel intended to be used as a propellant once the probe left the Earth’s orbit.
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