Farewell Phoenix…

 We knew this day will come…

Phoenix had sent its last signal to us on November 2 and since then, we have never heard from it again…

phoenix-mast-camera=> This is Phoenix mast-mounted camera. The two “eyes” enable Phoenix to have 3D view of the landing site. Credit: NASA / JPL / UA / MPI

Winter is approaching… daytime is getting shorter and shorter at Phoenix location on Mars. In addition to that, the sky became dustier and cloudier, and temperature is dropping. All these cause lesser and lesser sunlight for the solar arrays to collect the power necessary to charge batteries that operate the lander’s instruments.

Phoenix, which was designed to last three months, had spent about five months on Mars. During these five months, the lander dug, scooped, baked, sniffed and tasted the Red Planet’s soil. It verified the presence of water-ice in the Martian subsurface, finding small concentrations of salts that could be nutrients for life, revealing at least two distinct types of ice deposits, observing snow descending from clouds, providing a mission-long weather record and returned more than 25,000 pictures of Mars.

phoenix-artist1

Phoenix begins to shut down operations as winter sets in. This rendition of Phoenix was created by artist Corby Waste of JPL.

I’ve been following Phoenix since its launch, landing, operations, and finally its struggle to stay alive… Feels like not long ago we talk about Phoenix’s launched on 4 August 2007. And it only seems like yesterday we talk about its landing, and today, we talk about it demise…

It’s sort of sad, but think of the surprises Phoenix has given us; our understanding of Mars will never be the same again.

A Tribute to Phoenix


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~ by thChieh on November 18, 2008.

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