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Print 68 comment(s) - last by 4wardtristan.. on Dec 11 at 9:29 PM

NASA will try in the Martian Spring to contact Phoenix

NASA missions on Mars have been used to conduct a wide variety of scientific experiments. Much of the scientific scrutiny from NASA and other space agencies centers on Mars.

NASA launched Mars Phoenix lander in August of 2007 and sent it speeding towards Mars. In May of 2008, the Phoenix touched down and began its mission on the red planet. One of the tasks that Phoenix was sent to Mars to accomplish was to find out if water ice was present in the Martian soil.

Phoenix did find evidence that ice was in the Martian soil and after its three-month mission ended, NASA decided to keep Phoenix working. In November of 2008, NASA officially closed the mission Phoenix was conducting when it lost communications with the lander after it lost power and could no longer sustain itself.

NASA had expected Phoenix to lose power during the harsh Martian winter, though it continued to try to get the rover to respond to commands sent from satellites orbiting Mars to no avail. This week NASA reported that controllers have stopped trying to use the pair of probes orbiting Mars to communicate with Phoenix.

NASA says that Phoenix last communicated with the Mars Odyssey orbiter on November 2. Controllers tried on November 29 to raise Phoenix one final time. The advancing Martian winter is depriving the lander of the solar energy it needs to maintain working power levels.

NASA says that there is a remote chance that Phoenix could survive the -150 degree Martian winter and will try in the Martian springtime to re-establish contact with the lander.



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RE: OohH!
By SpaceJumper on 12/5/2008 3:10:26 PM , Rating: 0
-150 degree C is too cold for all electronics. Li-on battery or super capacitor will not survive at this temperature.


RE: OohH!
By Chipper Smoltz DT on 12/5/2008 3:47:18 PM , Rating: 2
Well, we could always wait for summer hehehe. Or maybe we could use this as a learning experience for our next genration of rovers. Hopefully, all of these "mistakes" could be turned into something positive in the future. Look on the brightside guys, lots of info was gathered then maybe someday we could create the "perferct" rover or whatever it is we're gonna use to gather additonal data


RE: OohH!
By danrien on 12/5/2008 4:22:08 PM , Rating: 4
This wasn't a mistake, it was expected.


RE: OohH!
By PrinceGaz on 12/5/2008 8:26:12 PM , Rating: 2
Don't you think it was designed with those sort of temperatures in mind when they decided to shut it down over the Martian winter, and try to reactivate it in the spring when more solar-energy is available?

I'd guess that the circuitry is kept within a suitable temperature range by being very highly heat insulated, and having a heater to keep the critical circuitry and associated power-supply components within a functional temperature range. That heater will almost certainly receive priority before all other circuits (as they will fail if the heater is shut down instead). Just because the rover is no longer responding doesn't necessarily mean it has no power, it may just be using the limited power it has during the Martian winter to "keep itself alive".


RE: OohH!
By deeznuts on 12/5/2008 9:48:49 PM , Rating: 2
That wasn't the plan. The mission is over. THe mission was designed for 3 months, that's it. everything after that was just extra icing on the cake. Trying to coax extra value out of it. But it was designed for 3 months, and now they're seeing if it'll survive the winter.


"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997

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