Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin says the United States may have rendered their Phobos-Grunt Mars spacecraft useless using a radar on the Marshall Islands.
Talking to agency Interfax, Rogozin said they are investigating the issue, saying that the theory is plausible and that, if confirmed, they "would consider technological and political measures". It's like someone turned the clock back to the best years of the Cold War, although I want to think that he's not implying that the US did this on purpose.
Researcher Alexander Sakharov says that they will know for sure at the end of this month, but that the 12-tonne spacecraft may have been "misled" by the American radar. Rogozin — who is leading the investigation — also says that it may have been a design flaw.
The $US152 million Phobos-Grunt launched last November on a Zenit-2SB rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. After reaching orbit, the engine that was going to put it on course to Mars' moon failed. Russian scientist tried to recover control of the spaceship to no avail. After more than two months in orbit, the probe crashed in the Pacific on Monday. [Südostschweiz (In German)]