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 Space.com of the team's efforts to conserve energy.
(Read more Mars stories.)