Monday, May 24, 2010

RIP Martian Lander

Source: Popular Science

One of the most successful unmanned missions to the Martian surface comes to a close with the end of the the Phoenix lander.

The lander, which essentially went into hibernation for the long Martian winter back in 2008 did not survive intact. As pictures from the Mars Odyssey orbiter proved last week that the solar panels had been damaged by ice buildup.

There was hope for continuing the Phoenix's mission if all had gone smoothly and while it is disappointing to see this conduit of information cease to function it has been invaluable in it's research. One of the most astonishing discoveries of the mission was that of the Martian soil, which is similar to what is found here on Earth and should have the ability to sustain life.

That is cool and all but many (me) deemed completely unsuccessful as it failed to find even one, not even one, little green man.

While scientists continue to study the findings of the Phoenix mission they have already planned for the future. NASA doesn't like to waste time as late next year yet another lander, called Curiosity, will arrive to Mars to set up a small unmanned laboratory on the surface.

The Martian lander is dead, long live the Martian lander.

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