Cosmic radiation may be the real reason for failed Russian probe
January 31, 2012
After Russia's failed Mars probe crashed back to earth earlier this month, rumors began circulating about what went wrong, but now officials think they know what really happened.
Earlier in January, the Telegraph reported that Vladimir Popovkin, the head of the Russian space program, hinted toward foreign sabotage since the failure occurred when the Phobos Grunt was on the opposite side of the planet and they were unable to see the probe or receive its transmissions.
On January 31, Popovkin announced that the space agency had determined the cause of the probe's failure - cosmic radiation. According to The Associated Press, the agency was able to determine the cause because two onboard computer units had gone into energy-saving mode due to radiation. Popovkin also placed some of the blame for the radiation having such a detrimental effect on the use of imported microchips, but he did not specify where they came from.