Latest Issue of Science News


News

NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander stops communicating

Mission deemed a full success

After five busy months, NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander has tasted its last morsel of Martian soil and viewed its last Martian landscape. Engineers announced in a November 10 teleconference that the mission is, for all intents and purposes, finished.

The waning Martian day and an inopportune dust storm starved the lander’s solar arrays of sunlight. Without the requisite solar power, the robot ceased to function.

Phoenix conducted experiments for five months, two months longer than the mission was slated to last after the lander’s May 25 arrival on the Red Planet.

Engineers last made contact with Phoenix on November 2. Despite scientists' regular attempts to reconnect at two-hour intervals, the lander has remained silent. Engineers say they will attempt to contact the robot for several more weeks, but they don’t hold out much hope.

Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.

X
This article is available only to subscribing members. Join SSP today or Log in.