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back to article Phoenix Mars Lander officially dead

NASA has confirmed that its Phoenix Mars Lander has not survived the harsh Red Planet arctic winter, and appears to have suffered serious ice damage to its solar panels. The agency has been attempting to contact the lander since January, in the slim hope it may have supported the weight of up to 30cm of accumulated carbon …

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Anonymous Coward

calcium carbonate?

You mean chalk then?

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Anonymous Coward

Farewell, Phoenix

thanks for the 5 months of daily Mars science

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Grenade

When I was a kid

I remember reading that satellites from space could snap photos of a golf ball on a golf course and car number plates. So why a fair few years later are space pics always so blurry, to the point of not being able to see anything except a black blur?

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You were being lied to

The Google-Earth type shots are taken from a plane not orbit, to get the resolution from space to read a newspaper you'd need a massive lens, not really something that's possible with the sort of tech you'd strap to an orbiting probe.

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Silver badge

All in dues course

When we will be in the state of Cold War with the Martians then our satellites will be able to count each facet in the eyes of each martian fighting machine. Until then - there is no budget for this kind of optics, I'm afraid.

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Anonymous Coward

Angular resolution, etc

Diameter of a golf ball: 42.67 mm

Minimum altitude of a spy satellite: 100 km

Wavelength of visible light: 400 nm - 800 nm

So a telescope with a one metre objective might be able to see a golf ball from orbit (ignoring many other possible relevant factors).

Hubble has a 2.4 m mirror. If you remember, there was a problem with it being focused incorrectly. I did wonder at the time whether it had been accidentally focused for spying on the Earth instead of for astronomy ...

Putting a large telescope in a low orbit round Mars is quite another matter ...

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Not a lie per se, just not the right truth

Military photo reconnaissance satellites originally used extremely high resolution stereo film, which was ejected back to earth and recovered by special teams. That film was taken by very large cameras, and the satellite was pretty much built around the camera. When they moved to electronic image capturing, the satellites became significantly larger, again, built around the idea of a suitable sized focal system.

For a better example, the space telescope Hubble is essentially a civillian version of the early 70s Keyhole satellites, which are estimated to have a resolution of around 6" from a 2.4m mirror. Not exactly something that can be easily shipped to mars, and rather lacking in other significant scientific instrumentation.

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Silver badge

Hubble

Is never pointed at the Earth or the Sun since the amount of light hitting its sensors would cause serious damage.

HTH.

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Thumb Up

You couldn't make these things up...

"Fuk Li, manager of the Mars Exploration Program at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory" brillant

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Bronze badge
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Man's name sounds like swearword in foreign language

Film at eleven.

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Bronze badge

A notable British astronomer (I think) is named Paul Murdin.

Part of which sounds rude in French.

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On the other hand

if it had been his brother Jet I might've managed a smile - a small one at least.

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Film?

Wasn't that "Virgin Soldiers" or some similar title? I vaguely remember someone getting his finger(s) shot off.

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...and the other hand says..

Fuk Jet is a pretty funny name.

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@You mean chalk then?

No. They mean calcium carbonate. Were you too busy for GCSEs?

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FAIL

AC @9:20 "When I was a kid"

Military recon sats have high resolution cameras with the capabilities that you have read about, but in those cases the cameras are so large that they generally have to build the satellite around the camera. Not something that is possible for a general-purpose science satellite with a limited payload mass (where every gram has to be justified - trust me, I've been involved in that side of things).

Also the military don't really want their cameras being used in by civies. Can't think why :-)

You are the weakest link - goodbye.

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Hmmm

Personally, I suspect the locals have nicked the solar panels off it & sold them for scrap. We all know they had the wheels off the Spirit rover a couple of months ago.

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Alien

Pikeys

..bloody Mars pikeys...no doubt wasted on the Mars equivalent of Buckfast too (which no doubt is a moonshining of calcuim carbonate). Mind you, I'm glad they're too busy doing that instead of 'drawing their plans against us'.

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Alien

Re: Hmmm

Space Chavs?

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@Giddy Kipper

Chalk *is* calcium carbonate - one of a number of types of calcium carbonate rocks. The most common form is limestone.

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Silver badge

No

Chalk may well be calcium carbonate - but as any geologist will tell you, it is a very specific type of organic limestone formed from the shells of coccolithophores. To have chalk you first need to have life.

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Joke

I hope that's a back to the shop warranty

I'd hate to be called out to fix that one..

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Coat

That would be ironic

If the Americans/Chinese/Indians/whoever were beaten to Mars by Kevin from MasterCare.

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Pint

It's about Spirit, but...

http://xkcd.com/695/

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Headmaster

@Tim bergel

Yes, yes. Well done Timmy. Off to the top of the class with you. And after I've eaten my apple, perhaps you can explain to the boys and girls why, when discussing chemical compounds of Martian (or any other extra-terrestrial) origin, it is more appropriate to use their formulaic name (CaCO3, calcium carbonate in this example) rather than slightly vague terms such as chalk, limestone, aragonite, calcite etc. etc.

Research is for pedants dontcha know?

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Flame

@ Giddy and @ Tim

Look. There's only one way to settle this sort of schoolboy spat..

F-I-I-I-I-I-I-GHT!!

Giddy - I'll 'old ya coat f'yer!

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RIP

A cold and lonely death...

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Pint

Ta

...and a pint for a job well done.

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LOL @ passive-agressive INTPs

Relax, this is not your dayjub[1].

[1] I'm keeping this misspelling.

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Grenade

@ Giddy and @ Tim

look boys, just settle this with a nice game of darts, i'll score.....now where's the scoreboard and the small piece of CALCIUM FUCKING CARBONATE??

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Except

You'd be writing the score using hydrated calcium fucking sulfate.

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RIP

Phoenix Mars Lander.

Job well done! Hopefully one day someone will get over there and wake you up!

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Joke

Austin Powers?

If memory serves Austin wanted to shag Fook Mi and Fook You, has he then missed an opportunity by not adding Fuk Li to his shag-o-thon?

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Big Trak v.2.0

Maybe on the next one they can have retractable panels for winter hibernation.

What's with the '®'? It's just a quote.

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calcium carbonate

There is no mineral called calcium carbonate. However there is a lot of mineral consists of calcium carbonate.

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