back to article Mars lander has probably carked it, says NASA

The Phoenix robot lander, situated in the arctic dune seas of Mars, has ceased communicating and NASA does not expect to hear from it again. The onset of autumn in the chilly polar plains of the Red Planet has, as was expected, meant that the probe's solar panels can no longer supply sufficient power to keep it running. …


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  1. petebog

    Next year?

    Any chance of it rising from the ashes next summer? Or will the batteries be shagged?

  2. FreeTard
    Paris Hilton

    Robot landers make sense

    Just not the gibberish from the Bush "regime" of sending people to Mars.

    What a load of rubbish, total waste of time & money.

    More landers & probes though.

    We need a Bush icon (sorry Paris, you have more brains).

  3. Maverick
    Dead Vulture

    Are you Australian?

    What's with the use of 'carked'? Are you Australian? Are you Kiwi?

    No! So stick with British slang. Like "Phoenix lander has croaked", "Phoenix lander in a bit of a pickle".

    I am however glad that you avoided the temptation of any title to do with rising from the flames.

  4. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    A simple solution

    Now all they need to do is send an engineer with a mop to wipe off the dust from the solar panels. He can then also fix the furnace and stuff it with as much dirt as needed for it to finally do its job.

    Oh, of course, one could just send a geologist with a proper toolkit and a shovel in the first place, instead of that remote controlled toy from the Science Museum. Before you flame me - I know, it's not from the Science Museum, it's from the Smithsonian :-)

  5. Anonymous Coward


    In before the 'waste of money', 'why wasn't it designed to last through the winter', 'why wasn't it nuclear-powered', 'why wasn't it a rover', 'why didn't it have better cameras' etc comments.

    Well done to the University of Arizona and NASA peeps. Getting up and going to work on Mars in the morning must have been a blast. Well done on getting the project up and running and on to the surface of Mars at all, in fact.

  6. Charlie Clark Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Brainbox versus Boffin

    Why choose? ;-)

  7. caffeine addict


    they spent how ever many millions of dollars in getting the thing there, and didn't build it to reboot when its batteries recharge in the spring?

  8. Mark

    "the first atomic force microscope ever used outside Earth"

    That's what you think, human.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Assuming ideal conditions such as not too much dust and other contamination on the solar panels, is it possible for the lander to start working again when it gets enough sun next (Martian) summer?

  10. rasputyn

    Good, but.....

    Al things considered (with apologies to NPR) NASA did a good job though they may have missed a few things mentioned above by those with 20/20 hindsight. Thay have paved the way for others to follow. However, for more important, this may be their swansong, their OPUS PROBE-CHEMBULISTICUM, their sunset... as we can no longer afford these games. We are now whipping our taxpayers and using leeches to drain their blood, so the executives of AIG and other big business can maintain their lavish lifestyles and golden parachutes.

    Now we are watching India as a rising space exploring star.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Re - revival

    Chances are that Phoenix will be entombed under several metres of solid CO2 during the height of the Martian winter at that high a latitude, so that's not going to be good news for the solar panels (or the batteries/electronics in general).

  12. Gordon Grant
    Thumb Up

    Good Job!

    The title says it all really, they weren't sure what to truely expect and you never know maybe just maybe someone though it might get a bit cold and have wrapped the electronics so it's not quite as cold on the inside as the outside and they let the electronics warm up enough...

    Will be fun to see what happens come April / May when it hopefully, boots back up because someone wrote it in but didn't tell anyone...

  13. David Viner Silver badge

    @Next year?

    >Any chance of it rising from the ashes next summer? Or will the batteries be shagged?

    If they're Sony batteries they'll either die or explode...

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Mission accomplished and lessons learned

    in the face of the poor track record of Mars landers getting even as far as the landing part of the operation, Phoenix has delivered admirably in what have proven to be very tricky conditions, and managing to extend its mission by nearly 50% must go down as a great achievement. My congratulations go to all involved, and I'm looking forward to the results that are still to come.

    Until (if?) the Mars Science Laboratory arrives, let's not forget the little rovers that could, Spirit and Opportunity, now heading towards an astonishing 5th year of trundling about the Martian plains.

  15. mittfh


    Haven't heard anything about this "lander" for a while...

    Why drive across Mars when you can fly across the planet?

    Meanwhile, looks as though Aber's CompSci dept has been up to other things...such as developing a robot scientist (I kid you not!)...and breaking the world record for long distance unicycling (must be the sea air...)

  16. Harvey Trowell

    @Next Year, April/May etc...

    For Phoenix, next spring is Oct 2009 next summer is May 2010, and Phoenix will probably spend much of the time until then under a cap of frozen CO2, where the temp will get down to about -180F, cracking the solar panels and circuit boards. So it is unlikely, if not impossible, that Phoenix will be re-reborn. That said, I believe the Russians are hoping that she does survive the spell in the freezer, and will be unlocked for other networks afterwards.

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