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Explore Mars event
Phoenix lander spotted from orbit
Posted: Sun, Nov 8, 2009, 7:08 PM ET (0008 GMT)
MRO image of Phoenix released Nov 09 (NASA/JPL) NASA's Mars Phoenix Lander, whose mission ended almost exactly a year ago, has been spotted in images taken in recent months by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) spacecraft as the landing site emerges from winter. The images, taken in late July and August, show the lander, covered in frost, as the north polar region of the planet emerged from winter darkness. Phoenix completed a five-month mission studying the region in November 2008, and project officials have said they plan to try contacting the spacecraft again in early 2010 as spring returns to the landing site, although establishing communications with the lander after its long hibernation is considered "highly unlikely". MRO itself has been in an extended safe mode for several weeks because of a series of computer resets.
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