We knew this day would come, but who knew it would be so soon? The Mars Phoenix, as planned, is shutting down major systems to offset its diminished solar power collection during the Martian winter. The little robot, which - nay, who — has been making monumental discoveries on the Red Planet for nearly six months is not expected to wake up come Spring. The first significant casualty will be the heater for the Phoenix's robotic arm, which was instrumental in scraping up evidence of water, among other things. Also according to plan, the Phoenix is diligently Twittering its last days, adding a poignant, cinematic element to the whole ordeal. To the Phoenix, I say we're right there with you, buddy. To NASA, I say STOP PERSONIFYING YOUR ROBOTS, IT ONLY LEADS TO PAIN. Ahem. Below, some of the more plaintive tweets. [NASA via Slashdot and Twitter]
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I'm so impressed by the longevity that these rovers have displayed. It's a true credit to the people that designed them. Incredible.