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]