NASA Finishes Listening for Phoenix Mars Lander

December 2, 2008
NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander monitors the atmosphere overhead and reaches out to the soil below in this artist's depiction of the spacecraft fully deployed on the surface of Mars.

(PhysOrg.com) -- After nearly a month of daily checks to determine whether Martian NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander would be able to communicate again, the agency has stopped using its Mars orbiters to hail the lander and listen for its beep.

As expected, reduced daily sunshine eventually left the solar-powered Phoenix craft without enough energy to keep its batteries charged.

The final communication from Phoenix remains a brief signal received via NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter on Nov. 2. The Phoenix lander operated for two overtime months after achieving its science goals during its original three-month mission. It landed on a Martian arctic plain on May 25.

"The variability of the Martian weather was a contributing factor to our loss of communications, and we were hoping that another variation in weather might give us an opportunity to contact the lander again," said Phoenix Mission Manager Chris Lewicki of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

The end of efforts to listen for Phoenix with Odyssey and NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter had been planned for the start of solar conjunction, when communications between Earth and Mars-orbiting spacecraft are minimized for a few weeks. That period, when the sun is close to the line between Earth and Mars, has begun and will last until mid-December.

The last attempt to listen for a signal from Phoenix was when Odyssey passed overhead at 3:49 p.m. PST Saturday, Nov. 29 (4:26 p.m. local Mars solar time on the 182nd Martian day, or sol, since Phoenix landed). Nov. 29 was selected weeks ago as the final date for relay monitoring of Phoenix because it provided several weeks to the chance to confirm the fate of the lander, and it coincided with the beginning of solar conjunction operations for the orbiters. When they come out of the conjunction period, weather on far-northern Mars will be far colder, and the declining sunshine will have ruled out any chance of hearing from Phoenix.

Provided by NASA

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10 comments

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Modernmystic
1 / 5 (4) Dec 02, 2008
YAY! Now can we PLEASE have no more articles on this abject failure of a mission!!??
morpheus2012
1.6 / 5 (7) Dec 03, 2008
for the newbies

nasa is the bigest gas giant in the solar system

all they they do is bunch of lies omissions,
airburshing, and generally uselles reasearch

ther secret space program has bases on moon mars

nasa knows about them soo they coutinulslly lie and cover them up

i mean if u belive what nasa tells u

ur on the par beliving what bush tells u
gmurphy
3 / 5 (2) Dec 03, 2008
RIP
DGBEACH
2 / 5 (2) Dec 03, 2008
indeed. RIP
Ethelred
5 / 5 (2) Dec 03, 2008
for the newbies

nasa

ther secret space program has bases on moon mars

nasa knows about them soo they coutinulslly lie and cover them up

i mean if u belive what nasa tells u

ur on the par beliving what bush tells u


Gosh I never knew that. Bases on the Moon. So then UFO by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson wasn't fiction it was a documentary.

I wonder if Mopious actually believes that.
deatopmg
not rated yet Dec 03, 2008
RIP


...then why is it called Phoenix? NASA names these missions for a reason.
RTT
3 / 5 (2) Dec 03, 2008
So if it is the winter season where the lander is at - will it's batteries recharge as the season progresses to summer?
Ethelred
5 / 5 (1) Dec 04, 2008
Maybe. If the probe isn't destroyed by the weather. A previous article said there might be an attempt to communicate with it after winter. Odds are very bad.

Oh and Mopious, If you hate science so much that you feel the need to give every reasonable post a rating of one what the heck are you doing on this site?

Tit for tat Mopious.
NOM
not rated yet Dec 04, 2008
Oh and Mopious, If you hate science so much that you feel the need to give every reasonable post a rating of one what the heck are you doing on this site?
Morpharse was booted off the physorg sister site physforum, so he knows he isn't wanted here.
denijane
not rated yet Dec 08, 2008
What failure, NASA Phoenix wasn't a failure. It did its job and its death was well expected. They just hoped they might get it moving for little longer but it didn't happen.
I don't understand where's the failure in this.

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