- News Home
17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
- About Us
Phoenix Has Gone Silent
10 November 2008 (All day)
It's final. NASA mission managers announced in a telephone press conference today that the Phoenix lander is in all likelihood sitting dead on the high arctic plains of Mars. They have not heard from the spacecraft for a week. The gathering gloom of an encroaching martian winter and a sudden shading by a dust storm drained its solar-powered batteries to the point of no return, project manager Barry Goldstein of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, reported. "We're pretty convinced the vehicle is no longer available," he said. "We're declaring [the] end of operations."
The end came several weeks earlier than expected, cutting off a final analysis being run in one of the analytical ovens. But by then, Phoenix had accomplished a lot. All four of the wet chemistry cells and seven of the eight ovens had been used in soil analyses as well as 10 microscope slides examined, reported Phoenix principal investigator Peter Smith of the University of Arizona, Tucson. Team members had already announced the detection of signs of interaction of the soil with water, a key goal of the mission (ScienceNOW, 30 September, but the top priority--showing that microbes could have lived in the soil Phoenix landed on back during warmer times--remains unfulfilled. Further analysis may yet achieve that, but team members expect no further help from their instruments on Mars. Winter is having its way and the extreme cold of the next year, said Goldstein, makes it "highly unlikely" Phoenix will rise again come martian spring.