Russian probe will plummet to Earth next month - and no one knows where it will strike
The stricken Russian probe Phobos-Ground was supposed to travel to Phobos, one of Mars’s two moons. However, its thrusters failed and it became stuck in Earth orbit.
Now the $170 million probe is heading back to Earth. It will crash between January 6 and January 19, but it’s not possible to predict where until a few days beforehand.
What’s more, one of the probe’s gauges has a small amount of radioactive Cobalt-57 and it’s carrying seven tons of toxic fuel in the form of nitrogen teroxide and hydrazine.
Experts are playing down the threat this poses, though.
Russia’s space agency says the fuel should burn up upon re-entry and the Cobalt-57 won’t pose any threat of radioactive contamination.However, several dozen fragments with a total weight of up to 200 kilograms (440 pounds) will fall on the Earth’s surface. Read More