Russia to Send Life to Mars

Earth Critters Hitch Ride to Martian Moon and Back
Discovery News

No one knows if there is life on Mars, but if all goes well with a Russian science mission later this year, there will be life on the Martian moon Phobos — for a short time anyway.

An assortment of critters and microbes are scheduled to make a round-trip journey to Phobos as passengers aboard a Russian spacecraft, scheduled to launch in October.

The mission, called Phobos-Grunt, aims to return samples of the Martian moon to Earth for analysis. It will be the first Russian-led mission to Mars since the loss of the Phobos 1 and Phobos 2 probes in 1988 and the botched launch of the Mars 96 spacecraft.

“I wish them luck,” said University of Colorado planetary scientist Larry Esposito, who was a science team member on two of the failed Russian missions.

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