Sunday, January 18, 2015

NASA Finds Missing UK Probe Intact on Mars

Beagle 2 replica.jpg
Photograph of a replica of the Beagle 2 space probe, as displayed in the London Science Museum.
(Image Source: , Photo by Geni)

By Mike Wall and

The United Kingdom's Beagle 2 Mars lander, which mysteriously disappeared during a landing attempt over Christmas in 2003, has finally been found by a NASA spacecraft orbiting the Red Planet.

The Beagle 2 Mars lander is clearly visible in new photos from NASA's sharp-eyed Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) in orbit around the Red Planet. The discovery shows that the probe landed successfully, but failed to unfold itself properly on the Martian surface, UK Space Agency officials announced today (Jan. 16).

The spacecraft, which hitched a ride to Mars on the European Space Agency's Mars Express mission, had not been heard from since it detached from that spacecraft on Dec. 19, 2003. Beagle 2 was supposed to land on Mars six days later, on Dec. 25. But when the lander never phoned home, many experts assumed Beagle 2 had crashed on Mars. Now, the mission's science team knows that's not the case.

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Sources: , Scientific American Magazine.

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