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Ground Controllers Make Contact With Lost Russian Mars Probe

Contact was lost with the unmanned Mars mission within hours of takeoff.
Russia's stranded "Phobos-Grunt" Mars probe has emitted its first "sign of life."

The European Space Agency (ESA) said that controllers at a tracking station in western Australia made contact with the Phobos-Grunt spacecraft late on November 22.

The probe was launched successfully on November 8 but mission control lost radio contact with the craft hours later.

Since then, the probe has been stuck in a decaying orbit around Earth and Russian space agency officials have admitted that the mission may have failed.

The "Phobos-Grunt" was designed to fly to Mars's moon Phobos and bring a soil sample back to Earth by 2014.

Russia on November 10 requested assistance from the US and the European Space Agency in tracking the probe.

compiled from agency reports