The Phoneix Mars lander has slipped into hibernation – a dangerous hibernation that it is not expected to awake from. One of the last Twitter posts from the landers was:
@PhotoMomT Alex, it’s very unlikely I’ll wake up next spring (see: http://is.gd/6tkx) but if I do I’ll call home. Good luck w/ your project
A surrogate Twitter post reads:
[From Phoenix mission ops: Phoenix is no
longer communicating with Earth. We’ll continue to listen, but it’s
likely its mission has ended.]
See: Mars Phoenix Lander Finishes Successful Work on Red Planet
Someone from the Lander team has been posting anthropomorphic updates to Twitter.com pretending to be the lander itself. Now, in keeping with the harsh realities of conditions on another planet, that voice has fallen silent.
Nevertheless – three cheers to NASA and the Lander team based in Tuscon, AZ for a highly successful project on humankind’s likeliest future second home – Mars. Congratulations to all and sleep well Phoenix!
The lander well exceeded its expected life span and continued to operate until the weakening of solar light deprived it of electricity. The search for past life was inconclusive but the discovery of frozen water just under the surface of Mars as well as observing falling snow was a significant step in understanding our sister planet.
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Check out the NASA video explaining the landing challenges of the Phoenix Mars Polar Lander which is scheduled to touch down this coming Sunday. Three weeks ago I was at Kennedy Space Center for the very first time and was totally impressed and re-inspired by the US Space program. I’ll be watching for the success of this expedition to find water on the Mars pole.