Russian space probe to crash on Earth within hours

MOSCOW (AP) -- Russia's space agency says its failed Mars moon probe will plummet to Earth within hours.

Roscosmos said the unmanned Phobos-Ground willl crash between 1641 and 2105 GMT (11:41 a.m. and 4:05 p.m. EST) Sunday. It could crash anywhere along the route of its next few orbits, that would include Europe, southeast Asia, Australia and South America. The U.S., Canada and much of Russia are outside the risk zone.

Scientists have estimated that the risk of the probe crashing into any populated areas are minimal.

Roscosmos predicts that only between 20 and 30 fragments of the Phobos probe with a total weight of up to 200 kilograms (440 pounds) will survive the re-entry and plummet to Earth. It said its load of toxic rocket fuel will burn up entirely in the atmosphere.


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