Phoenix Mars Lander DEAD: NASA Ends Contact Efforts (PHOTOS)

05/24/2010 05:31 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Huffington Post/AP

LOS ANGELES � NASA has ended efforts to regain contact with its Phoenix Mars Lander near the red planet's north pole.

Jet Propulsion Laboratory said Monday that repeated attempts to contact the lander were unsuccessful and an image taken by an orbiting spacecraft suggests severe ice damage to its solar panels.

Phoenix landed on May 25, 2008, and successfully operated for five months – two months longer than planned – until sunlight at its far northern location waned. JPL scientists didn't expect it to survive the Martian winter but continued to have an orbiter check for transmissions.

The new image shows changes in the lander's shadows, consistent with predictions that hundreds of pounds of carbon dioxide ice accumulating on the spacecraft could bend or break its solar panels.