NASA finally abandons Mars Phoenix Lander

NASA has finally given up on trying to resurrect the Phoenix Mars Lander. As of early last week NASA stopped sending signals to the rover who is fighting the intense winter temperatures on Mars. It was hoped that a variation in the weather would allow NASA to establish a connection with the ill fated rover but there was no success.

NASA hopes that when spring rolls around and the tilt of Mars changes that the sunlight will be able restart the rover's computers. That is only if the rover is able to survive the winter.

The little rover that could has already lived a remarkable life. It was originally thought that the rover would only last three months, some five months later it's finally time for Phoenix to fight the Martian winter temperatures of -199F. Seasons last longer on Mars than they do here on Earth and spring time on Mars will not come until October 27 of 2009.

Regardless if the rover is at its EOL or not it has out lived its expectations and has provided better insight to our universe. This post is for you Phoenix Mars Lander, we will see you in the spring (hopefully)!

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It's funny how people are saying why didn't NASA do this or try that. I bet NASA has a bunch of morons on their team and spent millions of dollars on this without thinking. They just built it like a car and shipped it to Mars via FedEx.

Been following this and I think there is hope here, it's a matter of waiting till Martian spring arrives. Hope for the best.

It's nothing sort of a feat the amount of brain that goes into this..........you always wonder what would eventually happen to all these objects left behind in Space.

Most NASA projects either fail or they outlive their intended lifespan by quite a bit. Phoenix Lander is more than just a lander, it's actually a wet/dry chem lab. It was the one that did the tests earlier this year on the salts found in the martian soil.

Criticizing is easy. But the fact that it was outlives its expected life is an outstanding achievement. It has done its job now to the next mission.

In a spirit of being accurate: that image is not the Phoenix, it's one of the mars rovers, still surviving on Mars for years now. In the text it is mentioned that the Phoenix is a rover. That's wrong, it's not. The only rovers on Mars currently are Opportunity and Spirit. Phoenix is a lander (lander means it stands still; rover means it's movable).

And speaking of aspects to protect the lander from the martian winter: unfortunately the winter on Mars at that latitude is extremely cold. Winter also means less exposure to the Sun in order to replenish its batteries.
Now, Phoenix was designed to awaken itself once it has enough power to do so. That means, theoretically, that it could wake up in the spring. But that's extremely unlikely, since its electronics, at those temperatures, are most probably all cracked up due to the cold. No shield could protect it from the cold, unless it had some sort of internal power source to keep it warm during the winter. But that would imply more costs to the mission and the managers decided that it would only last 3 months.

miguel_montes said,
In a spirit of being accurate: that image is not the Phoenix, it's one of the mars rovers, still surviving on Mars for years now. In the text it is mentioned that the Phoenix is a rover. That's wrong, it's not. The only rovers on Mars currently are Opportunity and Spirit. Phoenix is a lander (lander means it stands still; rover means it's movable).

And speaking of aspects to protect the lander from the martian winter: unfortunately the winter on Mars at that latitude is extremely cold. Winter also means less exposure to the Sun in order to replenish its batteries.
Now, Phoenix was designed to awaken itself once it has enough power to do so. That means, theoretically, that it could wake up in the spring. But that's extremely unlikely, since its electronics, at those temperatures, are most probably all cracked up due to the cold. No shield could protect it from the cold, unless it had some sort of internal power source to keep it warm during the winter. But that would imply more costs to the mission and the managers decided that it would only last 3 months.


I was just about to say rover what rover *lol* then I saw this comment... glad someone else knows its a lander too...

miguel_montes said,
In a spirit of being accurate: that image is not the Phoenix, it's one of the mars rovers,

Ahh, here I was thinking I was going nuts thinking that a space vehicle had been on Mars for years, not months.

they should have that in mind before sending it, and have a built-in shield or something to make te rover "hibernate" during winter and come back do "life" in the spring.

jingarelho said,
they should have that in mind before sending it, and have a built-in shield or something to make te rover "hibernate" during winter and come back do "life" in the spring.

They did have that in mind, this was totally expected. They were continuing to send it a signal for unexpected behavior.

SOOPRcow said,
They did have that in mind, this was totally expected. They were continuing to send it a signal for unexpected behavior.



the craft was only designed to live 3 months before the dust on the planet covered up its solar panels...the fact that it made it this long is nothing short of amazing

bdsams said,
the craft was only designed to live 3 months before the dust on the planet covered up its solar panels...the fact that it made it this long is nothing short of amazing

We have had windscreen wipers and windscreen wash fluid on cars for years, I know the fluid would probably freeze on Mars but couldn't they adapt this to the craft in a future version? I mean it would have to take a theory test before it can take of :p.

bucko said,
We have had windscreen wipers and windscreen wash fluid on cars for years, I know the fluid would probably freeze on Mars but couldn't they adapt this to the craft in a future version? I mean it would have to take a theory test before it can take of :p.

They solar cells are probably too delicate, and the dust that blows around up there is too fine a particle.

Axon said,
They solar cells are probably too delicate, and the dust that blows around up there is too fine a particle.


A burst of compressed air, then?

Remember this is also a lot due to cost and complexity. More complexity means higher risks of failure in general. If the primary goal is reached already, the benefits for added cost & complexity would have to be substantial for NASA to consider adding various ways of "cleaning" it.

There are actually a NUMBER of problems with what a few of you said..
1) Due to the extreme cold temperatures, one of the articles on NASA's own website that it is likely that the solar cells themselves will crack, if not shatter. Materials shrink a lot at those temperatures, it's pretty hard to prevent when you REQUIRE glass and silicon for PV cells.
2) Haha, windsheild fluid on a planet that we are trying NOT to contaminate. You should read up on how concerned NASA is about clean rooms and such so ZERO bacteria are on any craft that goes to the moon, mars, etc.
3) Compressed air... AIR. It would technically be a contaminate, something not allowed by NASA probably. I'm sure if it was feasable, somewhere between the last 5 rovers that have been sent to Mars would have included it.

cybertimber2008 said,
3) Compressed air... AIR. It would technically be a contaminate, something not allowed by NASA probably. I'm sure if it was feasable, somewhere between the last 5 rovers that have been sent to Mars would have included it.


If the concern was contamination, then they could build a small air compressor (if Mars has enough of an atmosphere for us to take pictures of dust devils, there's enough air to do the job).

The problem, of course, is powering it.