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Tiny, potato-shaped Phobos doesnÂ¿t look like a place worth visiting. But the Soviet Union tried twice, with limited success, to reach this Martian moon, the larger of two circling EarthÂ¿s near neighbor. Now the Russians are working flat out on a third assault, in the form of a sample- return probe called Phobos-Grunt (grunt is the Russian word for Â¿soilÂ¿). At press time, technical problems seemed likely to push back the launch by two years, to 2011. Whenever it flies, it will be RussiaÂ¿s most ambitious deep-space mission in years.