Russian scientists hope the launch of the Phobos-Grunt mission to retrieve soil samples from a martian moon will shed light on some of mankind’s most enduring mysteries, including the origin of the solar system, and pave the way for exploration of the red planet, the state-run RIA Novosti news agency reported Nov. 8.

Lev Zelyony of Russia’s Institute of Space Studies and Science Academy said the $163 million mission to Phobos “will provide clues as to the genesis of Phobos and Deimos [its sibling moon] as well as other planets in the solar system. … While studying the soil of Phobos, we’re expecting to proceed in the future to the study of the substance of Mars itself.”

Phobos-Grunt, set to launch at 20:16 GMT Nov. 8, is Russia’s first foray to deep space since its $300 million Mars 96 probe was lost in a 1996 launch failure.


READ IT AT: [RIA Novosti]