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WORLD : Soviets Lose Contact With Probe

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The Soviet Union lost “stable radio contact” with its backup space probe to the Martian moon Phobos, possibly dooming an ambitious program to scout out possible landing sites for a manned expedition to the planet, Tass said today.

Last September, the Soviets lost contact and abandoned the first of the twin Martian probes, Phobos I, but space engineers redoubled efforts to ensure success of the sister probe, Phobos II, to Mars and the Martian moon Phobos.

Tass reported that contact with Phobos II was lost on Monday when the probe focused its cameras to take pictures of the tiny Martian moon, which is 17 miles wide.

“After these operations were completed, the information was to be sent back to Earth, but Mission Control was unable to establish stable radio contact with the probe as scheduled,” Tass said.

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