23 November 2011

Contact established with Phobos-Grunt!

Here's the info: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-15850516
The Russian Phobos-Grunt mission was to send a probe to the Martian
moon Phobos, land, pick up samples, and return them to Earth. If
successful, this would be a fantastic scientific and technological
achievement. Sadly the mission didn't get past Low Earth Orbit, where
it remains, effectively stuck, and up to now incommunicado. If they
can re-establish communications with the spacecraft, it may still be
possible to diagnose the fault and get the little ship on its way,
although this remains (in my considerable space science experience,
which is not considerable at all) something of a long shot. So, in the
best tradition of the rationalist scientific endeavour, I suggest we
all pray. In the meantime, the engineers and programmers on the
mission will be trying to do stuff that actually has a hope of

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