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The World

The Soviet Union has abandoned attempts to revive the crippled Phobos 1 unmanned probe to Mars that was shut down by a computer programming error about two months into its mission, the weekly magazine Moscow News reported. Roald Sagdeyev, head of the Institute of Space Research responsible for Phobos 1 and its virtual twin, Phobos 2, told the magazine that the accidental omission of a single character in the program led to the failure. Phobos 2 was launched July 12 to act as a backup in the event of failure. The twin probes signaled the start of an ambitious Soviet assault on Mars, which Moscow hopes will end in a manned flight in the next century.


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