Contact made with Russia’s lost Phobos Mars probe

The European Space Agency (ESA)’s tracking station at Perth has established contact with Russia’s Phobos-Grunt spacecraft, which has been stranded in orbit since its launch on November 8.

The contact with the Mars mission was lost shortly after its launch.

Our team are working closely with engineers in Russia to determine how best to maintain communication with the spacecraft, ESA said in a brief announcement on its website.

The agency said more news would follow later.

The five-billion-rubble mission is one of the most ambitious in the history of Martian exploration.

It is designed to travel to the Martian moon of Phobos, scoop up soil and return the sample to the Earth by 2014.

But mission control lost the radio contact with the craft hours after launch, leaving engineers without telemetry data to figure out where it was.

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