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Mars Exploration Program


Mars Odyssey Still Hears Nothing From Phoenix

UPDATED : April 2, 2010

Third Listening Period to Begin Monday, April 5

From April 5 through April 9, NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter will conduct a third campaign to check whether the Phoenix Mars Lander has come back to life after experiencing a Martian arctic winter it was not designed to survive. The orbiter received no signal from the solar-powered lander during two listening campaigns earlier this year. While Odyssey listens for Phoenix during 60 overflights next week, the Phoenix site will be in around-the-clock sunshine. Phoenix completed its three-month mission in the Martian arctic in 2008 and worked for two additional months before energy became insufficient.

NEWS RELEASE: 2010-109

PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander showed no sign during February that it has revived itself after the northern Mars winter. NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter will check again in early April.

The solar-powered Phoenix lander operated for two months longer than its planned three-month mission in the Martian arctic in 2008. It was not designed to withstand winter conditions. However, in case the return of abundant springtime sunlight to the site does revive Phoenix, Odyssey is conducting three periods of listening for a transmission that Phoenix is programmed to send if it is able. The second listening period, with 60 overflights of the Phoenix site from Feb. 22 to Feb. 26, produced the same result as the first listening period in January: no signal heard.

Guy Webster 818-354-6278
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

NEWS RELEASE: 2010-067

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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