Moscow: Fragments of the country’s Mars probe Phobos-Grunt could fall to earth in January or February in 2012, a Russian Defence Ministry space forces spokesman said Thursday.
The probe was launched on November 9 and soon after, the Russian space agency Roscosmos lost contact with it and since then, there have been many speculations on its future.
On 24th, the agency said that it had started to study information received from Phobos-Grunt for the first time since it was lost.
It added that the information could help understand the reasons behind the probe failure but would still not be enough to salvage the mission.
“The situation as of November 24 indicates that pieces of the Phobos-Grunt interplanetary spacecraft are expected to fall in January-February 2012,” agency spokesman Alexei Zolotukhin said.
“The final date when Phobos-Grunt fragments fall would be changed by external factors,” he added.
The spokesman said ground control centre was still analysing 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,” he said.