Mars claims another one

Looks like Mars may have may have claimed yet another probe. After 9 years in operation in Mars orbit, the Mars Global Surveyor has gone silent.

From the NewScientest blurb:

An unexpected break in communications has NASA struggling to restore contact with its Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) spacecraft. If communication cannot be restored soon, NASA may try to diagnose the problem by having another spacecraft, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, take pictures of MGS.

If no signal is heard on either day, NASA may call on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) to take pictures of MGS early next week. The two spacecraft pass within about 100 kilometres of each other several times each week.

MRO's camera is easily powerful enough to determine the orientation of the spacecraft and its solar arrays. This would reveal whether the spacecraft has gone into safe mode or not.

Considering MGS is in it's 4th mission extension, it's lasted remarkably well. Hope the NASA eggheads can manage to figure out the problem and recover the orbiter.