After one last gasp of transmissions from Mars just over a week ago, the latest NASA probe, Phoenix, seems to have finally succumbed to the overwhelming cold and darkness of the approaching martian winter.

The mission, which lasted about two months longer than anyone expected and gathered a wealth of new information on Mars’ polar region, was a success by any measure, recording snowfall on Mars as well as analyzing soil and ice samples that suggest a history of liquid water on Mars. But with no sunlight to power its solar batteries, it’s more than likely that Phoenix has, at this point, become a permanent part of the equally dead martian landscape, prompting the cessation of operations today by NASA officials, who, like a bad ex, will continue to call regularly, not really expecting the probe to answer.

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