Contact Made With Lost Russian Space Probe

A 29,000-pound Russian probe that has been lost in space for more than two weeks has been located by an Australian ground station, the European Space Agency reported Tuesday. The Phobos-Grunt was supposed to blast out toward Mars, where it would collect soil from the Red Planet's moons, but failed to make it out of Earth's orbit. Carrying 11 tons of toxic materials, space-watchers have feared the craft could face an explosive end if it were to tumble back down into Earth. It's still not clear whether the probe can be steered now that contact has been made, nor is clear whether the mission can be salvaged—if it can't be, it would be the Russian's 19th consecutive failed Mars mission.

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