"There is little chance that we will be able to achieve this mission," the deputy head of Roscosmos, Vitaly Davydov, was quoted as saying by the Itar-Tass news agency. "We need to be realists. Since we could not establish contact for so long, the chances to carry out this expedition right now are very slim."
The unmanned Phobos-Grunt spacecraft blasted off toward the Red Planet on Nov. 9, where it was hoped to bring back rock and soil samples from the moon Phobos.
But its engines failed to put in the correct course, and the craft only managed to reach an orbit about 125 miles (200 kilometers) from Earth.
Roscosmos still does not know what went wrong, Davydov said.
"If we gain contact and understand what is happening with the probe, then maybe we will be able to draw conclusions. But now we have no information from the craft," Davydov said. "There is no telemetry. We simply don't understand what is happening."
Roscosmos earlier warned that the craft was likely to fall back to Earth sometime in January. But Davydov said it is impossible to predict the exact location.
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