Phobos-Ground to crash on Earth after New Year

Phobos-Ground to crash on Earth after New Year. 46029.jpegRussian space troops are watching the Phobos-Ground space probe. According to Oleg Ostapenko, the space troops commander, said that the orbit parameters of the probe had been determined, Finam FM said.

The orbit of the Russian defunct space probe continues to descend at the speed of one kilometer a day. As of 7:03 a.m. MSK Tuesday, the orbit perigee of the probe made up 209.75 km. The orbital apogee was measured at 309.19 km. As of 11:13 p.m. Wednesday, the orbital perigee and the apogee of the probe dropped to 208.79 and 306.43 km respectively, Prime reports.

The majority of experts are certain that the Russian interplanetary station will never fly to Mars, even if it become operable again. The debris of the probe may crash on Earth in January-February 2012. It will be possible to determine the date of the crash when the orbit of the probe descends to 180 km.

The fall of the Phobos-Ground station to Earth will not lead to noticeable changes in the atmosphere of the planet. When entering the atmosphere, the probe will fall into pieces. Most of them will burn when falling. Heptyl, a highly toxic component of the rocket fuel, will also burn during the fall, Russian scientists say.

"The probe will burn, most likely entirely, when falling down. Some fragments may reach the planet, though. For example, it goes about the parts of the landing capsule which was supposed to return back to Earth after the mission to Mars. The aluminium tanks with heptyl will burn in the atmosphere for sure. Nothing will be sprayed during the process, so I do not see any danger to people," Valery Daduchenko told ITAR - TASS


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