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Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Feb 3, 2005 15:04:11 GMT -6
Report Says Beagle 2 Shouldn't Have Flown
Summary - (Feb 3, 2005) Beagle 2 should never have been approved to go to Mars according to an official report from the ESA/UK Commission of Inquiry. The under funded mission was developed on a shoestring, and lacked adequate time for testing. Mission managers treated it like another scientific instrument on board Mars Express, and this fundamental error led to many subsequent problems. Beagle 2 disappeared after entering the Martian atmosphere in December 2003, and controllers still have no definitive answer for what actually caused its failure.
Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Dec 21, 2005 16:38:04 GMT -6
Beagle 2 probe 'spotted' on Mars
The scientist behind the British Beagle 2 mission to the Red Planet says the craft may have been found in pictures of the Martian surface.
Colin Pillinger says the images suggest the mission very nearly worked, but Beagle somehow failed to contact Earth.
He thinks the craft may have hit the ground too hard - as the atmosphere was thinner than usual because of dust storms in that region of Mars.
This may have damaged onboard instruments, preventing the call home.
The Beagle 2 lead scientist has been painstakingly studying images of the landing site in search of his spacecraft ever since it was lost on Christmas Day two years ago.
Now, he says, specially processed pictures from the camera on the US space agency's (Nasa) Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft show that it came down in a crater close to the planned landing site.
Based on the features found in the crater, members of the Beagle 2 team have reconstructed what might have happened to Beagle as it touched down on the Red Planet.
"There is a lot of disturbance in this crater, particularly a big patch on the north crater wall which we think is the primary impact site," Professor Pillinger explains.
"There are then other features around the crater consistent with the airbags bouncing around and finally falling down into the middle. Then, when you cut the lace, the airbags fall apart giving three very symmetrical triangles."
Four roughly circular features to the right of the 'airbags' could conceivably be Beagle's unfolded solar panels.