Trench digging on Mars Image credit: NASA/JPL-Calech/University of Arizona/Texas A&M University
Phoenix spacecraft on Mars. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Calech/University of Arizona
image of Mars taken from orbit by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems
The approaching Martian winter has spelled an end to the pioneering Phoenix Mars Lander mission. More than five months after reaching the red planet, the lander sent what is expected to be its final transmission back to Earth on November 2, exceeding its planned operational life-span by two months. Increased cloud, dust and the onset of colder temperatures mean that the robot is no longer receiving enough sunlight to charge its batteries and although engineers will keep the airwaves open, further communication with the lander is not expected.
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