Moscow, Feb 2: Russia would make another attempt to send a Phobos-Grunt probe to Mars’ satellite in 2018, a leading space expert has said.
According to Lev Zeleny, director of the academy’s Institute of Space Research, the probe would be named Phobos-Grunt-2. The plan was initiated by the Russian Academy of Sciences, Xinhua reported.
Speaking at a press conference, Zeleny said 2018 was chosen because it would be the shortest distance between the Earth and Mars that year and that Russia’s domestic space industry would also see a dramatic improvement by then.
The second Phobos-Grunt would cost “a little more than 50 percent of previous costs,” as the infrastructure was already in place from when they built the first probe, said Zeleny.
As per specialists’ estimate the crashed Phobos-Grunt interplanetary station, which failed to reach orbit after a computer malfunction and crashed back to Earth last month, cost five billion rubles ($164 million).
The probe, carrying China’s Yinghuo-1 satellite, had been launched Nov 9, 2011. It crashed Jan 15, 2012.
On Tuesday, Vladimir Popovkin, the head of Russia’s space agency said Russia would send another sample mission to the Martian moon Phobos if the European Space Agency (ESA) decides not to include Russia in its ExoMars programme.