Monday, November 03, 2008

NASA's Phoenix Lander signing off

The onset of the Martian winter and chilling temperatures as low minus 141 degrees Fahrenheit means that mission controllers of NASA's Phoenix Lander are facing the possibility that the probe may well be about to sign off for good. Communications in the last few days have been patchy to say the least, with the craft showing great reluctance to talk to mission control. As energy levels on the craft plummeted, mission control switched off various power hungry devices including 2 heaters, but it was touch and go if Phoenix would be able to stir back into life. 2 Nail biting days went by (29th, 30th Oct) before a signal was received. Though Phoenix is now back in touch, it is felt that the craft may only have a few weeks left before it finally succumbs to the harsh environment, though it has lasted several months longer than originally planned.