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By Irene Klotz
updated 1:59 p.m. ET, Wed., Nov. 5, 2008
Compared to NASA's long-lived Mars rovers, still scurrying around the Red Planet almost five years past warranty, the ice-sampling Phoenix Mars Lander, now in a communications coma five months after touchdown, may appear to be a bit of a dud.
But there is nothing engineers could have done to fix the fundamental problem. Phoenix, which is stationed near the planet's northern pole, is running out of sunlight, a death knell for a solar-powered probe.
When Phoenix landed on May 25, it was the start of summer on the Martian arctic circle, land of the midnight sun.
However if half of the funds spent in the last 10 years on space exploration(including Russia,China,India and U.S.A.) had been put to use on Mother Earth mayhap our sickly planet would be healthier allong with its inhabitants.