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Russia asks if US radar ruined space probe

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MOSCOW (AP): Russia will look into the possibility that a US radar station could have inadvertently interfered with the failed Mars moon probe that plummeted to Earth, Russian media reported Tuesday, but experts argued that any such claims were far-fetched.

The state news agency RIA Novosti quoted Yury Koptev, former head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, as saying investigators will conduct tests to check if US radar emissions could have impacted the Phobos-Grunt space probe, which was stuck in Earth's orbit for two months before crashing down near Chile and Brazil.

"The results of the experiment will allow us to prove or dismiss the possibility of the radar's impact," said Koptev, who is heading the government commission charged with investigating causes of the probe's failure.

US experts suggested that the Russians should look for causes of the failure at home.

"The Russian Space Agency would do themselves and the future of Russian planetary exploration some good to look inside the project and the agency to find the cause of the Phobos-Grunt mishap," said Alan Stern, former associate administrator for science at NASA and now director of the Florida Space Institute at the University of Central Florida.

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