No Peep from Phoenix in Third Odyssey Listening Stint

April 14, 2010
Artist concept of NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter. Image credit: NASA/JPL

( -- NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter heard no signal from the Phoenix Mars Lander when it listened from orbit while passing over Phoenix 60 times last week.

Odyssey had also listened for a signal from Phoenix during periods in January and February. During the third campaign, April 5 through April 9, the sun stayed above the horizon continuously at the arctic site where Phoenix completed its mission in 2008.

The solar-powered lander examined ice, soil and atmosphere at the site for two months longer than its planned three-month mission before succumbing to seasonal decline in . It was not designed to withstand winter conditions. However, in case it did, has used Odyssey to listen for the signals that Phoenix would have transmitted if abundant spring sunshine revived the lander.

"In the unlikely event that Phoenix had survived the harsh Martian arctic winter and been able to achieve a power-positive state with the return of continuous sunshine, there is a very high likelihood that one or more of these 60 overflights would have overlapped with a transmission attempt by the lander," said Chad Edwards, chief telecommunications engineer for the Mars Exploration Program at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

"This was the last of our three planned Phoenix search campaigns. The Mars program will evaluate the results in hand to assess whether further action is warranted," Edwards said.

Explore further: Phoenix Sees the Colors of Mars

Related Stories

Phoenix Sees the Colors of Mars

May 28, 2008

The northern polar plains of Mars can be seen in approximate true color in this image taken by NASA's Mars Phoenix Lander.

NASA to Check for Unlikely Winter Survival of Mars Lander

January 12, 2010

( -- Beginning Jan. 18, NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter will listen for possible, though improbable, radio transmissions from the Phoenix Mars Lander, which completed five months of studying an arctic Martian site ...

Mars Odyssey Still Hears Nothing From Phoenix

March 2, 2010

( -- NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander showed no sign during February that it has revived itself after the northern Mars winter. NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter will check again in early April.

Recommended for you

How to prepare for Mars? NASA consults Navy sub force

October 5, 2015

As NASA contemplates a manned voyage to Mars and the effects missions deeper into space could have on astronauts, it's tapping research from another outfit with experience sending people to the deep: the U.S. Navy submarine ...

Researchers find a new way to weigh a star

October 5, 2015

Researchers from the University of Southampton have developed a new method for measuring the mass of pulsars – highly magnetised rotating neutron stars formed from the remains of massive stars after they explode into supernovae.

NASA selects investigations for future key planetary mission

October 1, 2015

NASA has selected five science investigations for refinement during the next year as a first step in choosing one or two missions for flight opportunities as early as 2020. Three of those chosen have ties to NASA's Jet Propulsion ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.