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Emily LakdawallaMay 27, 2008

A little update on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's radio

We just got an update on the status of Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's UHF radio, the one they use to communicate with Phoenix, which malfunctioned this morning. They apparently just pinged the radio, and found that it still was not working normally. This was not an attempt at Phoenix communication, it was just an attempt to get the radio working. The next Phoenix communications session is scheduled for 5:15 pm PDT / 00:15 UTC -- this is the day's afternoon downlink -- and it is supposed to use the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. So we still don't know if the afternoon downlink is going to work or not. Tomorrow morning, Phoenix was always scheduled to use Odyssey for its morning uplink. So even if this evening doesn't go well, tomorrow Odyssey should relay the sequence that Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter never did today, and they should be back in business.

I'll let you know when I hear anything more.

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Emily Lakdawalla

Senior Editor and Planetary Evangelist for The Planetary Society
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