NASA's Mars Lander tweets and blogs about its death

Thousands of users have followed the posts that began with the Mars landing in May

During the Lander's five-month stint on Mars, NASA posted 605 entries on Twitter, which included answers to questions posed by some of the almost 40,000 people who followed its updates on the site. This was the first time NASA had Twittered about a mission, and the Twitter posts grew into an invitation to be a guest blogger on tech blog Gizmodo, where the Mars Lander posted a farewell blog Monday.

"If you are reading this, then my mission is probably over," the Gizmodo post noted. "This final entry is one that I asked be posted after my mission team announces they've lost contact with me. Today is that day and I must say good-bye, but I do it in triumph and not in grief.

The post went on to note that the Lander will hunker down and brave the long and cold autumn and winter on Mars , where the temperatures will reach minus 199 degrees Fahrenheit and a polar cap of carbon dioxide ice will grow around it to form an icy tomb.

The next Martian summer solstice - when maximum sunlight would hit the lander's solar arrays will be May 13, 2010.

"That's a long time away," the post continued. "And it's one of the reasons there isn't much hope that I'll ever contact home again. Scientists will be releasing findings based on my data for months, possibly years, to come and today's children will read of my discoveries in their textbooks. Engineers will use my experience during landing and surface operations to aid in designing future robotic missions."

The post ended with: "So long Earth. I'll be here to greet the next explorers to arrive, be they robot or human."

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Heather Havenstein

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