Mars Lander Mission Appears to be Over

The end seems to have finally come for NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander mission at the planet’s north pole, scientists said Monday.
“At this time we’re pretty convinced that the vehicle is no longer available for us to use,” said Phoenix project manager Barry Goldstein of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.
“We knew this would happen eventually,” Goldstein added.
Mission controllers lost touch with the lander on Nov. 2. That “was actually the last time we actually heard form Phoenix,” Goldstein said. The spacecraft has been studying the arctic surface of the red planet for just over five months, since landing there May 25.
During the course of its mission, Phoenix scooped up samples of the Martian dirt and subsurface water ice at its arctic landing site and analyzed them for signs of the planet’s past potential habitability. Phoenix touched down on the northern plains of a region known as Vastitas Borealis. The area is at a latitude on Mars equivalent to northern Alaska on Earth.
Phoenix successfully completed its mission objectives at the end of its three-month primary mission in August. The mission’s cost was ultimately about $475 million (up from the $420 million for its original three-month mission).

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