Will Phoenix rise from the ice?

The Phoenix robot, left by NASA on the Martian Pole last Martian Fall, has been hidden by seasonal darkness and is presumably covered with ice. The explorer had performed very well during its mission, and it is not expected to have survived the winter.

However, if, when sunshine warms its frosty panels, the science robot develops a positive energy balance, its circuits still work, Phoenix will alternately use its two radios and its two antennas to send out a signal. In the mean time, the Odyssey, which is a NASA flying robot circling the planet, will try to pick up this signal and re-establish communications.

Essentially, Odyssey will ask Phoenix how it’s doing, and Phoenix will provide information on its condition. Depending on the results of any such contact (which is not likely to happen at all) NASA may press Phoenix into extended service.

Here’s a picture of the Phoenix lander taken on Jan. 6, 2010 by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter:


Details here.


  1. #1 DaleP
    January 12, 2010

    Image source:


    (linked from your link)

    The image in your post above seems to be the middle green box from the source, which NASA reports is the heat shield. Your image is also upside down relative to the presentation on the NASA page. The lander is clearly visible in the bottom green box of the source.

  2. #2 Greg Laden
    January 12, 2010

    You are correct that that is the heat shield, but I did not turn the image upside down (not that there really is an upside down).

  3. #3 DaleP
    January 12, 2010

    By “upside down”, I meant as displayed on the web page. On this page, the top edge of the green box above is the lower green edge on the image I linked to in comment 1.

    A page for a photo of June 2008 (linked from the source image page) reports that North is approximately down for this image orientation.

  4. #4 Greg Laden
    January 12, 2010

    Yea, but … I clipped that image from the same image you linked to (and that I linked to, indirectly) and I did not rotate the image. This can only mean that image was rotated by NASA since they put it up.

  5. #5 DaleP
    January 13, 2010

    Ahh, that suggestion makes sense. Now, the 2 NASA images have the same orientation. Perhaps someone posted the recent image with North up. Then, someone else decided consistency with the older image was better, since NASA compares the images in the more recent post.

  6. #6 Greg Laden
    January 13, 2010

    OK, the image I downloaded (from the same place both of us are looking) is a different filename. Since they send me press releases, and this time I posted it right away, it may well be that they had a different image up at first and swapped it.

  7. #7 David Ross
    January 13, 2010
  8. #9 Greg Laden
    January 13, 2010

    Yeah, thanks, I fixed it. But I just want you to know that I don’t beleive in that rule. I mean really, what a fucking dumb rule. Possessive is a standard grammatical features, elision is a stylistic add on. Whoever came up with that rule should be hung by the participle until dea.