Google+ Mars Travel: NASA Prohibited from Helping Phobos-Grunt?

NASA Prohibited from Helping Phobos-Grunt?

EDIT: DEBUNKED! I got a response back from NASA. Check it out here

Disturbing reports have emerged that NASA has been forbidden from assisting Russia with Phobos-Grunt because of a US law that prohibits assistance to China's space program. Phobos-Grunt is carrying Yinghuo-1, China's first attempt at placing an orbiter around Mars.

Russian Space Web reports that there is a US law which is prohibiting NASA from assisting Russia and the ESA in the recovery of Phobos-Grunt. This law seems to state that because Yinghuo-1 is onboard they cannot provide assistance.

Mars Travel has contacted NASA and is waiting for them to substantiate or refute these claims.

If true this would contradict what Doug McCuistion, director of NASA's Mars Exploration Program, was quoted as saying during a news briefing three weeks ago:

We have offered assistance and if they need it we will provide it to the best of our ability. That's a different organization from ours. I am not sure if they have asked for such assistance, but we have offered it.

When Russian Space Web reported that the NASA was prohibited from helping Phobos-Grunt many people, including myself called NASA to determine the validity of these claims. We are still waiting on a response.

I'll have more as the story breaks!

Background on Yinghuo-1

Yinghuo-1 would be China's first foray to Mars. It would separate from the larger Russian probe in October 2012 (or maybe later now) and begin a year-long orbit of Mars. Its primary purpose is to collect data about the Martian atmosphere. On board it has a plasma package, a fluxgate magnetometer, a radio occultation sounder, and an optical imaging system. It also has two solar arrays to collect energy.


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