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NASA declares Mars Phoenix mission over
Posted: Mon, Nov 10, 2008, 8:59 PM ET (0159 GMT)
Phoenix Mars lander illustration (Univ. of Arizona) NASA's Mars Phoenix Lander spacecraft has been given up for dead after failing to communicate with controllers for over a week, project officials announced Monday. Phoenix was last heard from on November 2, several days after a dust storm reduced power levels on the spacecraft to dangerously low levels. Officials believe the spacecraft's batteries were discharged, and the lander is not getting enough sunlight as winter approaches at the landing site for the lander to continue operations. Phoenix, which landed on Mars on May 25, was originally planned to last for three months, but the spacecraft operated for five before losing power. Orbiting spacecraft will continue to listen for any signals from the lander should it somehow regain power, but project officials were not optimistic contact with Phoenix would be restored.
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