Russia’s attempts to save Mars probe unsuccessful

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MOSCOW (AP) — Russia’s space agency says it has failed so far to fix a probe bound for a moon of Mars that got stuck in Earth’s orbit.

Roscosmos spokesman Alexei Kuznetsov says efforts to communicate with the unmanned Phobos-Grunt (Phobos-Ground) spacecraft hadn’t brought any results yet. The probe will come crashing down in a couple of weeks if engineers fail to fix the problem.

Kuznetsov said Thursday controllers will continue attempts to fire the probe’s engines to steer it to its path to one of Mars’ two moons, Phobos.

The $170 million craft launched Wednesday has reached preliminary orbit, but its engines never fired to send it off to the Red Planet.

The space agency only has a few hours a day to reach the probe due to Russia’s limited earth-to-space communications network.