Mars Phoenix Will Bravely and Passionately Twitter Until the Final Beat of Its Adorable Electronic Heart

The Mars Phoenix Lander has been Twittering away its mission details since landing on Mars in May. But lately, you can see a sense of impending doom starting to creep in, slowly: "It's noon, Sol 81. I've spotted frost around my landing site in AM," tweeted Phoenix a few weeks ago. "Seasons are longer here...I'll be surrounded by ice & don't expect to survive til Spring," comes a few days later. But unlike other eerie autobiographical accounts of impending death, the wildly successful Mars Phoenix Lander has a trick up its sleeve for a potential reincarnation after the thaw.

"But as I've said before, I'm programmed with a 'Lazarus mode' so I'll call up to the Mars orbiters if I re-awaken in the Spring," said Phoenix last week, probably in response to tearful return Tweets lamenting his/her/its grim disposition. If its solar panels collect enough juice come springtime, the first auto-function will be to contact the Mars Orbiter above with the good news of its re-incarnation.

The folks at NASA are proud to be operating Phoenix at all at this point, having said anything beyond the intended 90-day mission (now officially extended to 120 days after water was officially collected for the first time) is a gift to be savoured. That Lazarus tweet we'll be watching for with open hearts. Show that Winter who's boss, little fella! [Twitter]

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