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.