This artist's concept depicts NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander a moment before its 2008 touchdown on the arctic plains of Mars. Pulsed rocket engines control the spacecraft's speed during the final seconds of descent.

This artist's concept depicts NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander a moment before its 2008 touchdown on the arctic plains of Mars. Pulsed rocket engines control the spacecraft's speed during the final seconds of descent.

Photojournal Note: As planned, the Phoenix lander, which landed May 25, 2008 23:53 UTC, ended communications in November 2008, about six months after landing, when its solar panels ceased operating in the dark Martian winter.

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