Final Attempts to Hear from Mars Phoenix Scheduled

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

(PhysOrg.com) -- From May 17 to 21, NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter will conduct a fourth and final campaign to check on whether the Phoenix Mars Lander has come back to life.

During that period, Odyssey will listen for a signal from Phoenix during 61 flights over the lander's site on far-northern . The orbiter detected no transmission from the lander in earlier campaigns totaling 150 overflights in January, February and April.

In 2008, Phoenix completed its three-month mission studying Martian ice, soil and atmosphere. The lander worked for five months before reduced sunlight caused energy to become insufficient to keep the lander functioning. The solar-powered robot was not designed to survive through the dark and cold conditions of a Martian arctic winter. However, in case it did, NASA has used Odyssey to listen for the signals that Phoenix would transmit if abundant spring sunshine revived the lander.

Northern Mars will experience its maximum-sunshine day, the summer solstice, on May 12 (Eastern Time; May 13, Universal Time), so the sun will be higher in the sky above Phoenix during the fourth listening campaign than during any of the prior ones. Still, expectations of hearing from the lander remain low.

"To be thorough, we decided to conduct this final session around the time of the summer solstice, during the best thermal and power conditions for Phoenix," said Chad Edwards, chief telecommunications engineer for the Mars Exploration Program at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

Explore further: Scars on Mars from 2012 rover landing fade—usually

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Mars Odyssey Still Hears Nothing From Phoenix

Mar 02, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- 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.

NASA to Check for Unlikely Winter Survival of Mars Lander

Jan 12, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- 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 ...

Recommended for you

Europe resumes Galileo satnav deployment (Update)

Mar 27, 2015

Europe resumed deployment of its beleaguered Galileo satnav programme on Friday, launching a pair of satellites seven months after a rocket malfunction sent two multi-million euro orbiters awry.

More evidence for groundwater on Mars

Mar 27, 2015

Monica Pondrelli and colleagues investigated the Equatorial Layered Deposits (ELDs) of Arabia Terra in Firsoff crater area, Mars, to understand their formation and potential habitability. On the plateau, ...

User comments : 0

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.