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Twilight Embers: Phoenix Mars Mission Ends November 12, 2008

Posted by Nick Azer in Mars, NASA, Phoenix lander, rover, Spirit and Opportunity.

Months after it was originally anticipated to fall silent, and after discovering both ice and falling snow on Mars, the Phoenix lander has lost contact, and the mission has been declared completed.

Lasting five months, the lander was originally expected to last just 90 sols (martian days), until September 30th; the last communciation was on November 2nd.
A Martian sunrise in late August, marking the oncoming of the winter that eventually doomed the lander. [Photo from UniverseToday.com by way of NASA/JLP/UA)

The unexpected durability of the lander could be promising for the efforts of future landers and rovers, including lunar ones.

Check out the official NASA media page on Phoenix for videos recapping the mission.

A related note: The Mars explroation rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, are still kickin’, after nearly five years (more than seventeen times longer than expected).

Considering how much longer ‘than expected’ both the Phoenix and the twin rovers have lasted, could it also happen that completion of lunar bases (being built by, of course, robots) will come much faster ‘than expected’ (with their construction workers potentially proving much hardier and productive workers than predicted)?



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