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ESA Abandons Attempts To Contact Stranded Russian Space Probe

The European Space Agency (ESA) has said it would no longer try to make contact with Russia's stranded Mars probe Phobos-Grunt if December 2 attempts failed.

Interfax quoted ESA's representative in Russia, Rene Pichel, as saying ESA and the Russians had not had contacts with the probe for more than a week, and the instruments and people working to establish contacts should therefore be used for other projects.

The Phobos-Grunt probe was designed to travel to the Martian moon of Phobos, scoop up soil, and return the sample to Earth by 2014.

It was launched in early November but technical problems left it stranded in the Earth's orbit.

compiled from agency reports