11:32 GMT +3 hours28 November 2014
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Russia’s troubled Mars probe to hit Earth on Jan. 15-16

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Russia’s troubled Phobos Grunt spacecraft is expected to fall back to Earth between Sunday and Monday morning, the U.S. Strategic Command said on Friday.

Russia’s troubled Phobos Grunt spacecraft is expected to fall back to Earth between Sunday and Monday morning, the U.S. Strategic Command said on Friday.

Phobos Grunt, Russia's most ambitious planetary mission in decades, was launched on November 9 but got stuck in Earth orbit due to propulsion failure. The spacecraft was to explore one of Mars' two moons, Phobos.

Researchers from the United States said the debris would fall between 02:39 GMT on January 15 and 07:39 GMT on January 16.

The Russian space agency Roscosmos said that Phobos Grunt would fall on the same dates into the Atlantic Ocean. Earlier in the day, Roscosmos said the spacecraft would plunge into the Indian Ocean. The agency said it revised its forecast due to Phobos Grunt’s lowered orbit, altered solar activity and changes in the atmosphere.

Roscosmos said that about 20-30 pieces of debris from the spacecraft weighing 200 kg would hit Earth, while the toxic fuel would burn in the atmosphere at a height of about 100 kilometers.