Phobos Grunt Russian Probe May Reenter Earth’s Atmosphere, Posing Toxic Waste Hazard.

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The Russian Space Agency Roscosmos is reportedly working out uncontrolled reentry scenarios for their ambitious probe the Phobos Grunt. The Phobos Grunt was intended to land on the Martian moon of Phobos, collect samples, and return to Earth all within a span of fifteen months; however, now the Roscosmos team responsible for the project is scrambling to minimize the damage from the very toxic probe and its likely reentry back into the Earth’s atmosphere after the failure of a cruise stage rocket to ignite, the force of which would propel the probe onward on its journey to Phobos. The probe is carrying ten tons of toxic fuel as well as amounts of the radioactive element cobalt-57. While Roscosmos has been officially mum on the situation, it is reported that NASA and the European Space Agency offered their assistance but Roscosmos declined. Because of the information gap, it is unknown whether the failure of the probe was due to mechanical or software issues but NORAD reports that the probe’s orbit is degrading and predicts reentry into Earth’s atmosphere on November 26th.



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