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Russia to make another attempt to bring back Mars moon material

Oct. 16, 2013 at 6:36 PM   |   Comments

MOSCOW, Oct. 16 (UPI) -- Russia will mount a second attempt to bring back dust samples from Phobos, one of the moons of Mars, after a failed 2011 try, a leading scientist says.

Following last year's attempt -- which ended with the spacecraft crashing back to Earth -- Russia's next mission to recover material from Mars' largest moon will take place between 2020 and 2022, Lev Zelyony, the director of the Space Research Institute at the Russian Academy of Sciences, said.

Zelyony said the project, dubbed "Boomerang," is "still important" because Phobos samples could lead to new discoveries about the birth of the solar system, RIA Novosti reported.

Some scientists believe Phobos -- Greek for "fear" -- is an asteroid captured by Mars and may contain material from the early period of the solar system's creation.

The 2011 Russian try, estimated to cost $165 million, ended when a rocket failure left the Phobos-Grunt spacecraft stranded in an Earth orbit, from which it fell back to Earth two months later.

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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