Eleven Years Later, NASA Finds Beagle Lander on Mars

Eleven Years Later, NASA Finds Beagle Lander on Mars

ESA Beagle 2 Satellite Footage 310x

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has found the derelict craft, not heard from since late 2003.

With all the talk of Mars colonization and exploration in 2014, it's important to remember that the likes of NASA and the European Space Agency have been hard at work exploring the planet for years.

Case in point: The Beagle 2 lander, dropped on the Red Planet in December 2003, has just been rediscovered by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) satellite. The Beagle 2 was never heard from again after being dropped onto Mars by the ESA's Mars Express spacecraft, with project leaders never getting a full explanation of what happened. But with the new satellite imagery, the ESA can see that the lander touched down, and looks largely intact.

"We are very happy to learn that Beagle 2 touched down on Mars," said ESA Science and Robotic Exploration director Alvaro Giménez."The dedication of the various teams in studying high-resolution images in order to find the lander is inspiring."

Images, like the GIF seen here, show the lander, and what could be its parachute, and its rear cover.

Since Beagle 2 is only 2 meters across when fully deployed, searching for the lander had proven difficult. Both the Mars Express craft and NASA's older Odyssey orbiter tried and failed to find the lander.

"It means closure to me," said Beagle 2 mission manager Mark Sims to the BBC. "Christmas day 2003 was a real disappointment...I've always wondered every Christmas day since what happened to Beagle 2. We've now got very good evidence that it made it successfully to the surface of Mars, which is amazing."

Source: ESA

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So you mean the Beagle 2 probe didn't transmit for ten seconds and get murdered by a Transformer?

Well that's something of an anti-climax.

Still got a poster of the Beagle and Mars on my wall, I can't believe it's been eleven years. Sleep tight little probe, you did make it after all :-)

So you shot something at mars, and are happy its there.

Gratz?
(And we gave them more funding :/)

Like finding wreckage from a crashed probe in KSP...

harrisonmcgiggins:
So you shot something at mars, and are happy its there.

Gratz?
(And we gave them more funding :/)

Well, when you spend a bunch of money to shoot an expensive researchy thingy to a distant planet in order to learn about it, only to go blank for 11 years and never hear from it again... Yeah, I think they have every right to be happy to hear it actually made it to Mars. And yes, we give them more funding cause space is cool as fuck. There something the matter with this...?

"The Beagle has landed. I repeat, the Beagle has landed."

Very cool. Now, send Curiosity over for a closer look. Ya know ya want to.

i hope they add it to take on mars, id love to find it and have a look

Looks like Admiral Archer's prized Beagle finally reappeared

FalloutJack:
"The Beagle has landed. I repeat, the Beagle has landed."

Very cool. Now, send Curiosity over for a closer look. Ya know ya want to.

Yeah, he can salute Beagle2's valiant effort and pour out a 40 for his lost homie. It'll be quite the tear jerker.

FalloutJack:
Very cool. Now, send Curiosity over for a closer look. Ya know ya want to.

I think she's too far away for that.

harrisonmcgiggins:
Gratz?
(And we gave them more funding :/)

Yes, and they managed to land on a fucking comet.

harrisonmcgiggins:
So you shot something at mars, and are happy its there.

Gratz?
(And we gave them more funding :/)

When you're trying to land something smaller than a car on a planet that is 35.8 million miles away at its closest, and things go wrong- then yeah, being able to find it and possibly figure out what went wrong is kind of a minor miracle.

I love and hate how space has become so routine for us that people can honestly say something like HarrisonMcgiggins up there with the fact that we shouldn't be impressed we managed to hit a fast moving target (we forget that Earth and Mars are both moving very fast around the sun) millions of miles away and we hit it. Just like it's annoying that we've found so many hints that life may have been possible on Mars that people are utterly unimpressed when we found Methane. I honestly think nothing shy of a Martian Skeleton would really get a lot of press. I don't think at this point finding bacteria would get much more than an "Eh. that's sorta neat." Out of people.

harrisonmcgiggins:
So you shot something at mars, and are happy its there.

Gratz?
(And we gave them more funding :/)

I don't think you fully understand the 'everything' that went it to 'shooting something at Mars and hitting it' even if the mission did result in failure.

OT:

cool, NOW, >.> <.< send another one over to fix it? That shit would be awesome and you know it.

harrisonmcgiggins:
So you shot something at mars, and are happy its there.

Gratz?
(And we gave them more funding :/)

It's worth pointing out that it was an incredibly low cost endeavour (I forget the full details, but I remember the number "£20million" being used by David Southwood when he came to do a lecture at my school, though this was 6 years ago so my memory is a little fuzzy). That is nothing for what was being attempted and the technology we're talking about. There wasn't even enough funding for it's own propulsion system, it had to piggyback on another launch that was happening.

The whole thing was doomed to fail simply because the money wasn't there to begin with, so the fact that it actually even landed without being obliterated is actually very significant.

yeah, im calling unknown here. i searched the net yesterday and not a single news outlet could provide an image that has a shape even resembling the Beagle. all i saw was some blurry rocks. perhaps they have better images, but so far i could find none.

I don't know how anyone can look at those images and actually confirm it's the Beagle. Unless NASA are sitting on much, much better images, it's simply mindboggling that everyone just accepts every statement or discovery from them to be the truth.

"searching for the lander proved difficult."

Understatement much? Forget finding a needle in a haystack, it's like trying to find a marble in a corn silo.

This is a pretty incredible find. I can't even imagine the unlikeliness of finding Beagle.

This has also really put me in the mood to play some Kerbal Space Program.

webkilla:
Like finding wreckage from a crashed probe in KSP...

Does KSP leave debris/wrecks now? That's awesome if so. The version I had played stuff just blew up and disappeared shortly after.

SmugFrog:

webkilla:
Like finding wreckage from a crashed probe in KSP...

Does KSP leave debris/wrecks now? That's awesome if so. The version I had played stuff just blew up and disappeared shortly after.

It has been leaving debris for quite a while - though, if your debris impacts a planet then it tends to blow up and go away...

but you can leave tons of orbital debris, or stuff on planets you visit, or from 'gentle' crashes on Kerbin.

Do note that the settings of the game allow you to switch off debris entirely - as well as choose how many debris items that are allowed in the game world (unlimited debris can lead to performance issues)

 

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