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Phobos-Grunt 'crippled by US aurora station', 'is a bio-weapon'

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'I'm not saying put someone up against a wall for this, but ...' Medvedev speaks

General-Lieutenant Rodionov, who used to command Russia's ballistic missile early warning system, told Interfax that "the powerful electromagnetic radiation of those sites may have affected the control system of the interplanetary probe".

Which rather leaves the question of whether that was on purpose or not to the imagination. But all these theories pale beside this explanatory video of how the Phobos-Grunt isn't even a mission to Mars, but is instead a biological warfare experiment.

As part of its mission, the craft was carrying a small amount of bacteria to test whether selected organisms can survive in deep space - the Living Interplanetary Flight Experiment (LIFE).

According to our robot-voiced friend in the video, some of these bacteria are linked to anthrax, and others to cancer, AIDS and Crohn's disease "to name a few".

He postulates three separate conspiracy theories:

  1. Phobos-Grunt was never meant to leave Earth's orbit, but is actually intended to plummet back to the surface "to cause a massive disaster".
  2. The probe was meant to go to Mars, but was sabotaged by "the powers that be", in order to (you guessed it) cause a disaster.
  3. The craft was headed to Mars but it was "intercepted by possible extraterrestrial intelligences" to stop it from getting to the Red Planet.

These and other possibilities will no doubt be investigated if the Russians and the ESA manage to get back in touch with Phobos-Grunt again, an attempt they will be making sometime today.

The Russian space boffins in particular will be keen to solve of the Phobos-Grunt riddle, since president Dmitry Medvedev has said he might criminally prosecute some of them for the failures that have embarrassed the country.

"Recent failures are a strong blow to our competitiveness. It does not mean that something fatal has happened, it means that we need to carry out a detailed review and punish those guilty," Medvedev told reporters in televised comments, according to Reuters.

"I am not suggesting putting them up against the wall like under Josef Vissarionovich (Stalin), but seriously punish either financially or, if the fault is obvious, it could be a disciplinary or even criminal punishment," he added. ®

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