Mars attacks: Phoenix lander disappears

The Phoenix sends its last message from Mars
The Phoenix sends its last message from Mars

NASA has confirmed it is has lost communication with its Phoenix robot lander, a full five months after it landed on Mars.

The robot was designed to send images and information back from the red planet and has been doing so successfully since its launch in August 2007.

In fact it has had such a good innings, it survived twice as long as it was designed to.

The probe had been, er, probing through some severe wintery conditions, which meant that its solar panels weren't garnering enough light to make the robot work.

Life on Mars?

The loss of Phoenix is not a disaster as, according to NASA, "The spacecraft's work has ended," participating in 149 out of the 152 days it was due to work.

The Phoenix first landed on Mars in May of this year and has already relayed back some fascinating information, including the discovery of water-ice on the planet and the confirmation of snow particles.

It has also given researchers some 25,000 photos to sift through. Unfortunately, there's no photographic proof yet showing Mars being populated by little green men.

The probe was so famous it had its own twitter page, with one of its final posts being 01010100 01110010 01101001 01110101 01101101 01110000 01101000 – which, according to the Guardian, is binary for 'triumph'. A fitting end to the exploratory workhorse.

Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.