Though New England winters can be harsh, they're nothing compared with the Martian winter. It's so frigid that the Phoenix Mars Mission will be shutting down soon.
Temperatures on the "Red Planet- have dropped to minus 150-degrees below zero at night on the northern Arctic plains of Mars, reaching to only minus-50 during the day. All this makes Phoenix's further analysis of the soil and ice impossible.
But the NASA-funded mission has proven more successful than hoped. Originally scheduled to last 90 days, the mission was extended an additional two months.
We spoke with co-investigator and Tufts University scientist Sam Kounaves in May, right before the Phoenix landed on Mars. His nails — at that time — were bitten to a quick. He joined us again to tell us about the mission's findings so far, and started by telling us the results exceeded expectations.
This program aired on November 10, 2008. The audio for this program is not available.