[FPSPACE] Mars lander phones home

LARRY KLAES ljk4 at msn.com
Sat Nov 15 10:14:13 EST 2008


They will monitor Phoenix for three more weeks just in case, then Mars goes
into solar conjunction.

They will check again in the spring, but it will be amazing if anything is 
heard.

We *will* be able to keep monitoring Phoenix from Mars orbit, thanks to the
Mars Reconaissance Observer (MRO), which took images of Phoenix shortly
after it landed in May.  One thing we will learn is if the frozen carbon 
dioxide
that will build up on the solar panels will be heavy enough to snap them 
off,
as some predict.  If that happens, Phoenix will not be able to generate
power and then the mission is truly over.

Good mission summary is here:

http://www.planetary.org/blog/article/00001735/

Larry


>From: gorski <gorski at ctc.net>
>To: Peter Pesavento <pjp961 at svol.net>
>CC: fpspace at friends-partners.org
>Subject: Re: [FPSPACE] Mars lander phones home
>Date: Fri, 14 Nov 2008 17:41:34 -0500 (EST)
>
>
>http://planetary.org/news/2008/1113_Mars_Exploration_Rovers_Update_Spirit.html
>
>Looks to me like it was Spirit, the MER.
>
>As memory serves, Spirit started running into dust problems shortly after
>Phoenix died.  I believe NASA has declared the Phoenix mission to be over,
>and they probably aren't listening for a signal from it anymore--though I
>could be wrong about that last bit.
>
>nasa.gov has not yet been updated to reflect this, though.
>
>cheers,
>
>--me
>
>
>
>
>On Fri, 14 Nov 2008, Peter Pesavento wrote:
>
>}>From the (UK) Telegraph
>}
>}
>}
>}http://www.telegraph.co.uk/scienceandtechnology/science/3455439/Mars-Lander-
>}lives-on-after-dust-storm.html
>}
>}
>}
>}For some reason, I am confused by the initial information.  I can't tell 
>if
>}the writer means a Mars rover, or the Mars Phoenix Lander (which is indeed
>}described later on in the text).
>}
>}
>}
>}I think they meant "five-month-old Martian lander".not 5-year old Martian
>}rover..
>}
>}
>}
>}You be the judge.
>}
>}
>}
>}
>}Mars Lander lives on after dust storm
>}
>}
>}Despite a nasty Martian dust storm, the Mars Lander lives.
>}
>}
>}Last Updated: 12:26AM GMT 14 Nov 2008
>}
>}NASA had not heard from the 5-year-old Martian rover for four days. Just
>}when engineers feared having to give up the ghost, the aptly named robot
>}radioed back to Earth on Thursday that it survived.
>}
>}Engineers shouted "she's talking," at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab in 
>Pasadena,
>}California. They were afraid that a dust storm had drained Spirit's solar
>}batteries, triggering it to shut down. Spirit's batteries are low, but
>}working.
>}
>}Spirit and its twin, Opportunity, are living long past their planned three
>}months on Mars.
>}
>}Since its successful landing in May, Phoenix has sent back a bonanza of
>}scientific discoveries. Its first breakthrough was the confirmation of ice
>}at its landing site. Previous measurements from space suggested there was
>}frozen water lurking inches below the surface, but Phoenix became the 
>first
>}robotic probe to touch and taste it by melting icy soil in one of its lab
>}instruments.
>}
>}Early on, Phoenix was dogged with technical difficulties involving its 
>tiny
>}test ovens designed to sniff for traces of organic, or carbon-based
>}compounds. Several oven doors failed to open all the way; the lander also
>}had trouble getting the dirt into the ovens and a short circuit threatened
>}to render the instrument useless.
>}
>}Originally pegged to last three months, Phoenix lasted a little over five
>}months, flexing its long arm to dig trenches in the soil and delivering 
>dirt
>}and ice to its onboard instruments to analyze.
>}
>}By the end of its prime mission, Phoenix determined the soil was slightly
>}alkaline, detected falling snow and found minerals that suggest the ice 
>may
>}have melted at some point, although the soil is currently bone-dry.
>}
>}Phoenix grew considerably weak in recent weeks as the Martian weather
>}deteriorated.
>}
>}
>}
>}
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