Efforts to establish communication with the Phobos-Grunt probe, as it’s been called, are continuing even now, but don’t look promising. The ESA and NASA have offered assistance in using their satellites in order to try and communicate with the probe.Doug McCuistion, NASA’s director of Mars exploration, said, “We have offered assistance and if they need it, we will provide it to the best of our ability.”
The probe was successfully launched atop the Zenit rocket but has failed to initiate its Fregat engine burns to start its journey to Mars’ moon Phobos. The mission was to collect soil samples and return them to Earth, the first ever mission that would return samples from outside the Earth system.
If the engines cannot be started, Russian authorities predicts that Phobos-Grunt will re-enter the atmosphere on December 3.