Mission Accomplished on Mars

Time is up, but Phoenix keeps digging
By Michael Foreman,  Newser User
Posted Aug 29, 2008 5:32 PM CDT
This color image acquired by NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander on June 13, 2008 shows one trench scientists believe contains exposed bits of ice.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Time's almost up for NASA's Mars Phoenix Lander: With its 90-day mission complete, the $480 million project will continue testing soil samples until the punishing winter puts it out of commission. Wired recaps Phoenix triumphs with an interactive timeline, from its flawless landing at Mars' north pole to its groundbreaking analysis of Martian ice and water.    

"As we near what we originally expected to be the full length of the mission, we are all thrilled with how well the mission is going," said one NASA rep. Though offering few surprises—Mars is still cold and dry—Phoenix showed small missions can still deliver important data. NASA's next mission, the Mars Science Laboratory, will touch down next year.
(Read more Phoenix Mars Lander stories.)