The Sideshow

Russia doesn’t know where Mars probe crashed

Eric Pfeiffer
The Sideshow

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Two days after a failed Mars moon probe re-entered Earth's orbit, Russian officials admit they don't know exactly where it crashed.

On Sunday, it was reported by several news agencies that parts of the craft had fallen into the Pacific Ocean. But now, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Alexei Zolotukhin tells the AP that the information was based on "calculations" and that there aren't any actual eye witness accounts of the debris landing.

The unmanned probe was carrying toxic fuel that was expected to disintegrate upon reentry into Earth's atmosphere along with most of the craft itself. The Phobos-Ground probe was originally intended to travel to one of Mars' twin moons (Phobos), collect soil samples and then fly back to Earth in 2014. The ambitious project fell short when the probe never made it out of Earth's orbit, where it had been stuck for the past two months.

However, inbound visits from the red planet have apparently been far more successful. NASA scientists have confirmed that several rocks from Mars crashed in the African desert last year, one of only a handful of confirmed findings and the first in 50 years. Scientists found a total of 13 pounds of Martian rocks, including one that weighed over two pounds. Scientists say they believe that millions of years ago something large crashed into Mars' surface, sending the debris hurtling into space.

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