I’m in the office late, but am distracted by listening in to a Phoenix press teleconference happening right now. I hope the news isn’t as bad as I think it might be. Watch this space…
A few sols ago, they were doing the last of their significant science days; they’d been planning to turn off the heaters and keep an eye on the weather, and maybe just do a few images. The only problem was that a dust storm blew in, which threw out the calculations for how much power they would have. They failed to keep the batteries from ‘browning out’ – running out of power entirely. For the next few nights, Phoenix fell asleep and then woke up during the day and managed to say hello. However, power got less and less, and on November
5th2nd the team received their last communication.
While the team will be listening, they’re officially declaring Phoenix dead. A wonderful mission is over, just over 150 sols after touching down on the surface of Mars. Now the scientists can work on their data without distraction! They certainly have lots to keep them busy.
Wired’s epitaph contest has a lot of attention, but here are the winners. The winner’s excellent.
Update 2 :
The following tweet just appeared on Mars Phoenix’s Twitter feed :
01010100 01110010 01101001 01110101 01101101 01110000 01101000 <3
Update 3 :
As we reported on the last episode of the Sky at Night, Peter Smith sounds very, very convinced that the soil Phoenix has been sampling is recent, rather than old. This may account for some of the differences from the Spirit and Opportunity results, but more excitingly suggests that the Martian surface is still changing.