When the Landers eventually died no one was sure why. It was thought maybe a bad instruction put them into a state that drained batteries or something.
Interesting. I'd always heard that they stopped transmitting because they were turned off because we didn't have funding to continue listening to them. Wouldn't be the first thing I was wrong about.
At that time James Tillman (U.W.) asked for a small 5K budget to put together a manual that would detail the RS232-like external connectors on the lander and explain how to repower and and communicate with the device from the outside--- should anyone ever happen to go there in the future and be physically present it would be easy to turn it back on. But that was never funded.
Pretty typical of government in general. Penny wise, pound foolish.