Phoenix Lander After Second Martian Winter
This image, taken Jan. 26, 2012, shows NASA's no-longer-active Phoenix Mars Lander spacecraft after its second Martian arctic winter. The lander has the same appearance as it did after its first winter, as seen in an image from May 2010, at PIA13158.
Both views are from monitoring frost patterns at the Phoenix landing site in far-northern Mars, using the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
In August 2008, Phoenix completed its three-month mission studying Martian ice, soil and atmosphere. The lander worked for two additional months before reduced sunlight caused energy to become insufficient to keep the lander functioning. The solar-powered robot was not designed to survive through the dark and cold conditions of a Martian arctic winter.
The lander is at the center of this image, which is one product from HiRISE observation ESP_025786_2485. Other products from the same observation can be found at http://hirise.lpl.arizona.edu/ESP_025786_2485.
A view of the Phoenix Lander taken by the lander's own Surface Stereo Imager is at PIA13804.
HiRISE is operated by the University of Arizona, Tucson. The instrument was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colo. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, built the spacecraft.
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.