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ESA abandons Russian space probe, hopes it doesn't plummet to earth

James Trew , @itstrew

Things have gone from bad to worse for the orbit locked Phobos-Grunt space probe, having lost contact with the European Space Agency, the probe faces abandonment and disaster. The soviet star-gazer got stuck in Earth's orbit shortly after launch, stunting its two and a half year jaunt to the Martian moon Phobos. Attempts to send commands that would break the craft loose of the Earth's grip have failed, and the ESA has since given up hope of contacting the probe. The Russians will continue to try and reestablish contact with the probe, hopefully avoiding an expensive disaster. Weighing 13.2 metric tons, most of which is fuel, the probe threatens to return to Earth with a bang, crashing down to terra firma with a toxic payload. It's certainly not been a good couple of months for Euro based space travel. In the meantime let's just hope it doesn't bump into anything else while it's up there, or you might miss the big game.

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