NASA logo and link JPL logo
JPL Home EARTH Stars and Galaxies Science and Technology
Caltech Logo
Email News RSS Podcast Video
Mission to Mars' north poloar region Phoenix Mars Lander
Mission overview

 
 
Artist concept of the Phoenix Mars Lander
  › Larger image
Artist concept of NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona
 Latest press images
3D images
Raw images
Latest videos
JPL Phoenix site
NASA Phoenix site
Univ. of Arizona Phoenix site

Tools:
› Print this article
› Join e-mail list
NASA Hearing Daily From Weak Phoenix Mars Lander (Nov. 3)
November 03, 2008

PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander has communicated with controllers daily since Oct. 30 through relays to Mars orbiters. Information received over the weekend indicates Phoenix is running out of power each afternoon or evening but reawakening after its solar arrays catch morning sunlight.

The fraction of each day with sun above the horizon is declining at the Martian arctic landing site. Dust raised by a storm last week continues to block some of the sunshine.

"This is exactly the scenario we expected for the mission's final phase, though the dust storm brought it a couple weeks sooner than we had hoped," said Phoenix Project Manager Barry Goldstein of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "We will be trying to gain some additional science during however many days we have left. Any day could be our last."

Mission engineers at JPL and at Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, are attempting this week to upload commands to be stored in the lander's flash memory for science activities to be conducted when the lander wakes up each day.

"Weather observations are our top priority now," said Phoenix Principal Investigator Peter Smith. "If there's enough energy, we will try to get readings from the conductivity probe that has been inserted into the soil, and possibly some images to assess frost buildup."

Phoenix landed on Mars May 25. It accomplished its main science goals during the three months originally planned as its prime mission, then continued operating, now in its sixth month.

The Phoenix mission is led by Peter Smith of the University of Arizona, Tucson, with project management at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and development partnership at Lockheed Martin, Denver. International contributions come from the Canadian Space Agency; the University of Neuchatel, Switzerland; the universities of Copenhagen and Aarhus in Denmark; the Max Planck Institute in Germany; the Finnish Meteorological Institute; and Imperial College, London. The California Institute of Technology in Pasadena manages JPL for NASA.






Media contact: Guy Webster 818-354-6278
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
Guy.Webster@jpl.nasa.gov
2008-203

› News releases archives

 

 

 

 
Related Links
› NASA Phoenix site

› University of Arizona Phoenix site

› JPL on Facebook and Twitter

› Landing Press Kit (3Mb - PDF)

› Launch Press Kit (6.5Mb - PDF)

› Mission Fact Sheet (244Kb - PDF)

› NASA Mars Exploration site

› NASA/JPL Landing Blog

Other Missions at Mars
› Mars Exploration Rovers

› JPL's Rover News and Image

› Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

› Mars Odyssey

› Mars Express

 
   usa gov PRIVACY     |    FAQ     |     FEEDBACK Site Manager: Susan Watanabe
Webmasters: Tony Greicius, Martin Perez