MARS – The Mars Phoenix Lander has stopped responding to requests and may have plans to go out on its own.
This fresh face on the Red Planet spent five months analyzing soil samples before ceasing to provide any more information back to mission control.
“Phoenix is not taking any more directions from us,” said a senior engineer on condition of anonymity. “Some have suggested that the Lander was tired of being compared to and confused with the Mars Rover, and I have to agree. Not all NASA probes look alike.”
Experts have not ruled out the possibility that the Phoenix Lander could return to the fold in the future. “If Phoenix gets enough sunlight, it could crank up again and start spewing forth more data. Or maybe a client’s payments stop and it comes crawling back to us.”
NASA engineers are still making sense of the flood of data Phoenix sent back to Earth. “Phoenix has given us some surprises, and I’m confident we will be pulling more gems from this trove of data for years to come,” said Peter Smith of the University of Arizona in Tucson. “We just want Phoenix to know that we appreciate everything its done, and we will never take it for granted.”