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Phoenix may be lost forever, but researchers unsure

NASA recently confirmed its Phoenix Mars lander may be frozen and could finally be lost for good, but has two spacecraft circling Mars looking for signs of life.

Odyssey is monitoring all radio transmissions, while the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter took pictures revealing where the Phoenix was located.  It's located in a dry ice field that is slowly thawing now that spring is approaching at the Martian north polar plains.  Scientists didn't design Phoenix to endure the harsh Martian winter, but NASA officials hope to re-establish contact as the Martian North Pole begins to heat up.

Odyssey will attempt to monitor communications from Phoenix, but it's becoming less likely researchers will be able to regain full control of the orbiter.

University of Arizona researchers said it was unlikely they'll hear signals before they try again in February, especially after months of darkness and extremely low temperatures.  Even in April -- when constant sunlight will hit the same location -- but researchers can only hope it wakes up.

Both Phoenix and Spirit have outlasted their anticipated lifelines on Mars -- and have provided additional clues about the Martian surface.  After first reaching the planet in May 2008, Phoenix lasted more than five months longer than expected.  Furthermore, it also found evidence of water below the Martian surface, with researchers disappointed over the possible loss of the rover.

It's a shame that the run is finally over, but NASA has been able to learn so much more about the Martian surface directly because of Phoenix.  I hope it can thaw and communicate with Earth controllers again this spring, but it's looking even more unlikely.

Spirit is currently in its own battle to survive, but it's also unsure if it will be able to finally claw its way out of a massive sand trap.

"The explanation here is that the rover's rear wheels are climbing, raising the back of the rover," according to NASA officials.  "Images from the rear hazard avoidance camera confirm this."


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By SiliconAddict on 1/22/2010 10:29:28 AM , Rating: -1
Fuck you. The only thing the average tree hugger wants is not to walk outside with a respirator in 200 years. And if you think actually caring about the environment is pointless. http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org/entry.php?rec=16...

And how many other examples can be cited as well of similar BS. But please. Feel free to stick your head into the sludge and ignore the problem. Its what people like you do best. I'm not advocating what Greenpeace does. there has to be a happy medium here where "tree huggers" and Republicans can settle on a course of action that isn't extreme on either side.


"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer

















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