UPDATE: 1/15/2012 11:30AM PST The probe is down, but see how the BBC fouled up the reporting of it here -Anthony
Look up in the air, it’s a bird, its a plane, no it’s Phobos-Grunt! Video follows.
From Sky News: An out of control Russian spacecraft could crash land on southern England sometime this weekend, scientists have warned.
The minibus-sized Phobos Grunt is loaded with 11 tonnes of fuel that was supposed to take it to Mars and one of its moons.
But the on-board computer failed shortly after take-off last November and the spacecraft’s orbit of the Earth has been getting lower ever since.
Chief engineer at the UK Space Agency Professor Richard Crowther said it is expected to explode as it enters the atmosphere, scattering debris along a 200km track – anywhere between the M4 corridor and the Falkland Islands.
But he told Sky News that fragments are most likely to fall into the sea: “If you look at the Earth from space, most of it is covered by water.
“The UK is very small by comparison. The probability of it falling in such a small area is very, very low.
“It doesn’t keep me awake at night.”
The Russian space agency Roscosmos estimates that between 20 and 30 fragments, weighing 200kg in total, will make it back to the Earth’s surface.
It doesn’t look good:
Image from heavens-above.com