A US radar stationed on the Marshall Islands may have accidentally disabled Russia’s Mars probe, which crashed into the Pacific Ocean on Sunday, The radar may have jammed electronic communications with the $163 million Phobos-Grunt craft as it monitored asteroid movements, reported the Kommersant newspaper citing an unidentified Russian space official,
Russian officials however say they still have no firm information where a failed Mars moon probe plummeted to Earth on Sunday. The space probe designed for a bold mission to a moon of Mars came down in flames.
A Russian scientific probe was meant to visit a Martian moon but never made it out of earth orbit crashed into the Pacific Ocean about 700 miles west of Chile on Sunday, according to New York Times reports
Pieces from the Phobos-Ground, which had become stuck in Earth’s orbit, landed in the sea, the Russian military said.
The craft was one of the heaviest and most toxic pieces of space junk ever to crash to Earth, but officials and experts said the risks were minimal.
The crash cut short what was to have been an ambitious two-and-a-half-year voyage to Phobos, one of Mar’s two small moons, and back again. The mission to retrieve the first soil sample from a Martian moon would have been a milestone for Russia.
The Phobos-Grunt’s lander was equipped with a small shovel to put about eight ounces of dirt into a tiny capsule to return to Earth.
The mission started with a successful launching to Earth orbit, but the engine that was meant to boost the spacecraft out of orbit and on its way to Mars failed to fire, and scientists on the ground were unable to correct the problem.