The inevitable has happened. Our friend, the loved and loving Mars Phoenix lander has gone quietly into that long, good night once and for all. Even though we joyfully joined the lander on its adventures as it Tweeted from beyond the stratosphere, and thrilled at its explorations, pitfalls, and pratfalls, try not to feel the familiar sting of humanity at the thought of our little robotic buddy facing that call to interminable sleep we all must answer one day. Let's rest easy knowing that the NASA-spawned craft served dutifully and fearlessly right up to the end, when it was overpowered by a horde of space zombies and turned into an undead killing machine. We'll miss you, pal.

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Mars Phoenix lander goes silent, NASA ends mission