Russian scientists set ambitious Mars mission for 2007 SpaceDaily

A Russian company plans to send a robot probe to a Martian moon in 2007, where it will take a small sample of soil and bring it back to Earth for analysis, the news agency Itar-Tass said Tuesday. The firm, Lavochkin, has made a mock-up of the probe and carried out a number of tests on it at a site at Kaluga, south of Moscow, it said, quoting Sergei Potekhin, director of OKB Kaluga, a firm that is also working on the scheme. If all goes well, the probe would head for Phobos, one of Mars’ two moons, in 2007 and scrape up around 100 grammes (three ounces) of soil which it would then bring back to Earth, the report said.