The Russian Federal Space Agency will repeat its Phobos-Grunt program, a mission to scoop up soil from Martian Moon Phobos, in 2022-2025, Roscosmos director Vladimir Popovkin said.
"The Space Exploration Council of the Russian Academy of Sciences has reviewed the program of research missions. We will concentrate on Moon in the short-term prospect, as well as on Mars together with Europeans, and then we will certainly repeat the Phobos mission. I think it will happen in 2022-2025," Popovkin said at a session of the Russian Academy of Sciences board in Moscow on Tuesday.
The first Phobos-Grunt interplanetary mission was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on November 9, 2011, but subsequent rocket burns intended to set the craft on a course for Mars failed. Phobos-Grunt crashed into the Pacific Ocean on January 16, 2012, after two months of unsuccessful attempts to restore contact with the rover and switch on its engines.
The vehicle was to have returned to the Earth carrying soil samples from Martian Moon Phobos in August 2014. Unofficial reports estimated the cost of the project at some five billion rubles ($155 million).
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