Russian Lavochkin Center chief calls for new Phobos missions

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Jan. 24, 2012, 2 p.m. | Russia and former Soviet Union — by Interfax-Ukraine
Moscow - Russia should send a new research mission to Phobos, a Martian moon, despite the recent loss of the Phobos-Grunt probe, Viktor Khartov, the general director and general designer of the Lavochkin Space Research and Production Center, said in Moscow. "We have no other choice. Russia should accomplish the task it set itself," he said.

Scientists and space industry specialists continue insisting on the relevance of bringing soil scooped from Phobos to Earth.

"We hope that we will still be able to make corrections," Khartov said.

A project to bring soil from Mars to Earth should be implemented as part of ExoMars, a joint mission with the European Space Agency, he said.

"Such plans have already been formulated," he said.

"Phobos-Grunt is our firm's pain, grief and disaster. It is our common tragedy," Khartov said.
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