MOSCOW, Dec. 16 (UPI) — A Russian spacecraft that failed in its attempt to head to Mars will fall to Earth between Jan. 6-19, the country’s federal space agency said.
No more than 400 pounds of the debris of the Phobos-Grunt craft will reach the Earth’s surface, and the fuel is expected to totally burn up in the atmosphere, Roscosmos said on its Web site Friday.
“According to expert estimations, the time period of the spacecraft’s falling to Earth will cover the period from Jan. 6 to Jan. 19, 2012. … The location and the exact time will be unveiled no earlier than a few days prior,” the Web statement said.
Launched Nov. 9, Phobos-Grunt was intended to bring back rock and soil samples from the martian moon Phobos but has been stuck in a so-called support orbit since its engines failed to fire and put it on course for the Red Planet, RIA Novosti reported.