Mars Lander Falls Silent

Phoenix lacks the solar power to continue its mission
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 10, 2008 5:11 PM CST
This image provided by NASA shows the full-circle panoramic view of the Phoenix Mars Lander taken during the first several weeks after NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander arrived on an arctic plain on Mars in...   (AP Photo/NASA)
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(Newser) – The Martian autumn has cut power to NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander, ending its mission of scientific discovery, NASA reports. As anticipated, shorter days and increasingly overcast skies are preventing sufficient solar energy from reaching the lander’s power cells. It has already collected data for 2 months longer than its originally planned 90-day mission, yielding information crucial to understanding Mars’ environment.

"We were unsuccessful in keeping the batteries from browning out," the project manager tells of the team's efforts to conserve energy.