PASADENA, Calif., April 14 (UPI) — NASA says its Mars Odyssey orbiter heard no signal from the Phoenix Mars Lander when it listened from orbit while passing over Phoenix 60 times last week.
It was the third time Odyssey had listened for a signal from Phoenix. During that third attempt, April 5-9, the sun remained above the horizon continuously at the arctic site where Phoenix completed its mission in 2008. Scientists thought those conditions might revive the solar-powered lander.
Odyssey examined ice, soil and atmosphere at the site for two months longer than its planned three-month mission before succumbing to a seasonal decline in sunlight.
Although the spacecraft was not designed to withstand winter conditions, NASA used Odyssey to listen for the signals that Phoenix would have transmitted if the spring sunshine revived the lander
“This was the last of our three planned Phoenix search campaigns,” said Chad Edwards, chief telecommunications engineer for the Mars Exploration Program at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “The Mars program will evaluate the results in hand to assess whether further action is warranted.”
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