Just a quick update: The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter UHF radio is back on, and so the orbiter should be back in business as the go-to relay station for Phoenix. Mission scientists said that when the radio was turned back on this afternoon, it didn’t “safe” itself and turn off immediately, as it did this morning just before it was supposed to upload Phoenix’s chores for the day. MRO should be back in business for the afternoon’s downlink that’s supposed to be happening right now.
That means that the day isn’t completely wasted. Even though Phoenix didn’t have a complete set of instructions to perform today, it did have some back-up tasks it performed. So the scientists hope to have some new stuff: a full color image to the north, from the edge of the lander’s workspace to the horizon, and also some weather data.
Later update: Missions scientists have confirmed that they were able to get some “great looking” pictures down today via MRO, and it looks like they are already up, posted here. Peter Smith should have something he can talk about at tomorrow’s press conference (as long as HiRise doesn’t steal the show again).