The probe, which had the purpose of reaching one of the two Martian moons, was declared dead, and it will probably crash on Earth in January, without presenting any kind of risk to populated areas.

Phobos Grunt

An artist's depiction of the Phobos-Grunt probe on orbit


The Phobos-Grunt probe was supposed to reach Mars, orbit it a few months, deploy a Chinese satellite, then land on Phobos, take samples of rocks and dust and then return to Earth – ambitious plans. But everything took a turn for the worse, when the computer onboard the craft failed to fire two engine burns to send it on its trajectory. Russian scientists and engineers had three days to fix this issue before the batteries wouldn’t have enough power to restart the engines.

However, the task proved to be too big, and the probe was declared dead, in a major blow for the Russian space program morale. After the US has retired all its space orbiters, this is another major setback for space exploration worldwide; hopefully, the Russians will be able to cope with this problem and not give up on further such initiatives, but rather, focus and progress even more. The entire space program needs to stay focused, and it requires as much support as it can get.