10 November 2008
Time to Say Goodbye to the Mars Lander
Almost just over 5 months after the Mars Phoenix Lander made history when it landed on the Martian surface back in May, news is here today that the lander has finally been declared dead. Granted the lander has not been without its share of problems, but after recently struggling with electronic malfunctions as a result of the planet's shift into its winter state, the sun has not been able to give the lander enough juice to keep going, and it has been suffering a slow death. Just last week there were reports that the lander was put into a mode that caused it to repeat the same exercises multiple times, but due to the power failures, every day was a new day to it and it could not remember what had happened the last time it was powered on. However, today scientists officially declared the lander dead (though they have been unable to communicate with it since November 2nd). We learned a lot from the lander, and hope that someday in the hopefully-not-too-distant future we will be able to visit, in person, the site where the lander made history.