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Russia to test unmanned lander for ‘Phobos Grunt’ mission

Mars' moon Phobos. Photo: NASA

MOSCOW (BNS): Scientists of Russian Space Agency will test an unmanned lander for the nation’s first interplanetary programme ‘Phobos Grunt’, according to a news agency report.

Russia will send a spacecraft to the surface of Phobos (one of the moons of Mars) in 2011, to collect rock and soil samples to Earth.

"The aim of the test is to narrow down the lander's projected impact location on the surface of the Earth," RIA Novosti quoted a statement of the Central Aerodynamic Institute.

"As far as the lander...does not include any signaling equipment...narrowing down its projected impact area will make the search for it easier," the statement added.

The Phobos-Grunt project was conceived in 1999 and envisioned a multi-purpose mission to Mars. The mission was designed by the Lavochkin Russian scientific association (NPO).

In June 2006, NPO Lavochkin announced it has started manufacturing and testing the development version of the spacecraft's onboard equipment.

Scientists expect to launch the Mars moon mission in November 2011.


Russia  moon  

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