March 1, 2010
Still No Answer From Phoenix
NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander showed no sign during February that it has revived itself after the northern Mars winter. NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter will check again in early April.
The solar-powered Phoenix lander operated for two months longer than its planned three-month mission in the Martian arctic in 2008. It was not designed to withstand winter conditions. However, in case the return of abundant springtime sunlight to the site does revive Phoenix, Odyssey is conducting three periods of listening for a transmission that Phoenix is programmed to send if it is able. The second listening period, with 60 overflights of the Phoenix site from Feb. 22 to Feb. 26, produced the same result as the first listening period in January: no signal heard.
Image Caption: Artist concept of Odyssey. Image credit: NASA/JPL
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