Digital News Report – Scientists at the Mars Exploration Program at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California (Cal Tech) are hoping that the Phoenix Mars Lander will phone home. The Lander lost power over a year ago but now Mars has sunlight in the North Pole region again and this could recharge the solar powered lander.
Back in 2008 the lander collected samples and placed them in the on-board oven for analysis. The Phoenix lasted two months longer than expected during the Marsian summer, but as the days grew shorter and shorter it lost power. The batteries died and scientists lost touch.
Although it was not designed to withstand the harsh winter, the sun is returning and there is hope once more. “We owe it to Phoenix to have a good listen for it, and it would be remarkable if it survived,” said Chad Edwards, chief telecommunications engineer for the Mars Exploration Program at JPL.
As the Spirit Rover develops some problems, this is a good time to start looking for Phoenix. JPL scientists are trying in vain to extricate their Spirit rover when it developed trouble with one of its wheels.
Scientists admit that it is unlikely to see the Phoenix rise again.
By: Sam Lee