September 20, 2008
NASA Extends Mars Phoenix Rover Mission
What it's doing
* The three-legged Phoenix spacecraft is studying whether the the Martian north pole could have been favorable for microbial life to emerge.
* The space agency will invest about $6 million to keep the $422 million mission going through December.
Why it matters
* Phoenix is the first craft to touch Martian ice with its robotic arm. It will turn into a weather station once its digging job is finished.
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