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NASA ends efforts to contact Phoenix Mars Lander
Posted: Tue, May 25, 2010, 7:16 AM ET (1116 GMT)
Phoenix image of Phoenix from May 2010 (NASA) One day before the second anniversary of its landing, NASA officials said they were ending efforts to resume contact with the Phoenix Mars Lander as a new image shows the spacecraft did not survive the winter unscathed. Project officials made several efforts earlier this year to make contact with the lander in the unlikely event that the lander had made it through the long winter in the planet's north polar region. No signals were received from the lander, and a new image from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft suggests that the lander's solar panels were damaged, and possibly broken off entirely, by ice buildup during the winter. Phoenix landed on Mars on May 25, 2008, for a 90-day mission; the spacecraft operated for five months, discovering a layer of ice just below the surface among other findings.
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