December 2, 2008

NASA: Phoenix Mars Lander Is Now Silent

The U.S. space agency says it has, most likely -- after a month of fruitless attempts -- reached the end of communications with its Phoenix Mars Lander.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration said it has ceased its daily attempts to communicate with the spacecraft and has stopped using its Mars orbiters to hail the lander and listen for its signals.

The final communication from Phoenix remains a brief signal received via NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter on Nov. 2, the space agency said. The Phoenix lander operated for two months longer than expected after achieving its science goals during its original three-month mission. It landed on a Martian arctic plain on May 25.

The last attempt to listen for a signal occurred at 3:49 p.m. Saturday, on the 182nd Martian day since Phoenix landed on Mars.