NASA: Phoenix Mars Lander won't phone home, photos reveal damage, the party's over (snif)


Sad news out of NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab today:

Phoenix Mars Lander has ended operations after repeated attempts to contact the spacecraft were unsuccessful. A new image transmitted by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows signs of severe ice damage to the lander's solar panels.

"The Phoenix spacecraft succeeded in its investigations and exceeded its planned lifetime," said Fuk Li, manager of the Mars Exploration Program at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "Although its work is finished, analysis of information from Phoenix's science activities will continue for some time to come."

Above, two images of the Phoenix Mars lander taken from Martian orbit in 2008 (L) and 2010 (R). "The 2008 lander image shows two relatively blue spots on either side corresponding to the spacecraft's clean circular solar panels. In the 2010 image scientists see a dark shadow that could be the lander body and eastern solar panel, but no shadow from the western solar panel." (NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona)