LOS ANGELES—After five months of digging in the Martian soil, NASA is shutting down key instruments aboard the Phoenix spacecraft to conserve power.

Phoenix landed in May to study whether the arctic environment could support primitive life. The lander has been struggling to survive with fewer hours of sunlight reaching its solar panels.

NASA decided to gradually shut down the spacecraft's instruments in hopes of getting several more weeks of scientific study.

Engineers on Tuesday sent commands to disable a heater that warms the spacecraft's robotic arm and oven instrument, a move that will save about 250 watt-hours of power a day. Three other heaters that power other spacecraft electronics will be shut down over the next several weeks.

well there you have it, very informative and worth every penny of it but Phoenix will soon me just a scrap on the surface of Mars, I have been following this mission from the landing.  Found water (like duh) more important, did chemical analysis of the soil and measured air pressure and weather patterns on the surface and found all kinds of info about Mars... more than searching for life (a far cry) answered a bunch of questions and raised more questions to be answered. I say the mission originally to be 90 days and stretched to 5-6 months was a total success