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.

How much?

* 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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