Space Probe Targets a Moon of Mars
Russia launched an unmanned space probe early Wednesday on a daring mission to reach Phobos, a moon of Mars, and to fly samples of its soil back to Earth. The craft, known as Phobos-Soil, was launched by a Zenit-2 booster rocket from the Baikonur cosmodrome, which Russia leases in Kazakhstan. It is expected to carry up to seven ounces of soil from Phobos back to Earth in August 2014. The $170 million mission is Russia’s first interplanetary exploration since the fall of the Soviet Union. Engine failure in a 1996 robotic mission caused the probe to crash in the Pacific.