Beagle 2

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Beagle 2
Beagle 2 replica.jpg
Replica of the Beagle 2 at the London Science Museum
Mission type Geochemistry and astrobiology Mars lander
Operator National Space Centre, UK
COSPAR ID 2003-022C[1]
Mission duration 6 months (planned)[2]
Spacecraft properties
Landing mass 33.2 kg (73 lb)
Payload mass 9 kg (20 lb) science instruments
Dimensions Folded: 1 m diameter
Unfolded: 1.9 m diameter
Height: 12 cm[3]
Power 60 W[3]
Start of mission
Launch date 2 June 2003, 07:45 UTC (2003-06-02UTC07:45Z)
Rocket Soyuz-FG / Fregat
Launch site Baikonur Cosmodrome
Contractor EADS Astrium
Mars lander
Landing date 25 December 2003, 02:45 UTC (2003-12-25UTC02:45Z)
Landing site Isidis Planitia, Mars
11°31′35″N 90°25′46″E / 11.5265°N 90.4295°E / 11.5265; 90.4295 (Beagle 2 landing site)

The Beagle 2 was a British Mars lander that was carried to Mars by the European Space Agency's 2003 Mars Express mission. It was an astrobiology mission that was designed to look for past life on the shallow surface of Mars.

The spacecraft successfully arrived in orbit round Mars on 19 December 2003. It was going to land on the surface of Mars on 25 December. There was no contact at the expected time of landing. ESA declared that the mission was lost in February 2004, after several attempts to contact the spacecraft were unsuccessful.[4]

Beagle 2's fate remained a mystery until January 2015. Then it was found on the surface of Mars by a series of images from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter HiRISE camera.[5][6] The images suggest that two of the spacecraft's four solar panels failed to deploy, blocking the spacecraft's communications antenna.

The Beagle 2 was named after HMS Beagle, the ship used by Charles Darwin.

Image of the possible landing site of Beagle 2

References[change | change source]

  1. Bell, Edwin (26 August 2014). "Beagle 2". National Space Science Data Center. Retrieved 22 January 2015.
  2. Randell Rafkin, Scot C.; Michaels,, Timothy I.; Haberle, Robert M. (15 January 2004). "Meteorological predictions for the Beagle 2 mission to Mars" (PDF). Geophysical Research Letters 31. doi:10.1029/2003GL018966. Retrieved 2016-11-03. "MGCM results are used to characterize the large-scale atmospheric fields over the primary mission (approximately 180 sols". 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Beagle2: FAQ.
  4. [1]
  5. Webster, Guy (16 January 2015). "'Lost' 2003 Mars Lander Found by Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter". NASA. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
  6. "Mars Orbiter Spots Beagle 2, European Lander Missing Since 2003". New York Times. Associated Press. 16 January 2015. Retrieved 17 January 2015.