Landing on Mars in May of 2008, the NASA Mars Phoenix Lander worked remarkably well until November of the same year. It sent back hundreds of images and did soil testing that found calcium carbonate and perchlorate. The mission was only supposed to last for three months but like other NASA missions the service life of the lander exceeded expectations and only ended when the winter sun could no longer charge the probes batteries. When the Martian winter had passe it was hoped that the lander might have survived the deadly cold (-87C) and contact could once again be established. However it was not to be. The lander was no longer responding to commands issued from NASA’s Mars Odyssey orbiter as it did a number of passes over the landing site in multiple listening campaigns. Eventually an image was obtained from the HiRISE camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter the that confirmed the speculation that an estimated 100 pounds of icy buildup has damaged the delicate solar panels.
Phoenix Mars Lander is Silent, New Image Shows Damage.