Mars Spacecraft Missing For Over A Decade Has Just Been Found
January 16, 2015 – Scientist’s think they’ve found the European Space Agency’s Beagle-2, missing since 2003.
The Beagle-2 first landed on Mars on Christmas Day 2003 to begin what was planned to be a six-month mission to discover whether there is, or ever was, life on Mars.
According to the European Space Agency, the Beagle-2 Mars lander has been seen in images taken by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter such as the one below. The images show that the lander deployed and landed over ten years ago. However, it is believed that one of its parachutes failed to properly release and has interfered with Beagle-2’s ability to communicate with Earth.
Head of the UK Space Agency announced today that, “What we can say with some confidence today is that Beagle 2 is no longer lost and furthermore it seems we are not looking at a crash site.”
According to NASA, the purpose of the Beagle is to find “biological signatures” and “chemical traces of life–telltale signs that life once existed, or perhaps, exists right now on the red planet.
Given the size of the rover, about six feet across, finding the Beagle was akin to finding a needle in a Martian haystack.
The Beagle-2 was named after the ship Charles Darwin was aboard when he developed his theory of evolution. It is the first European spacecraft to land on Mars.
Image of the Beagle landing site taken by the orbiting Mars Observer Camera
via Beagle 2
Closeup of the Beagle 2’s robotic arm
CG image of Beagle 2 being released
via Beagle 2
Airbags were used to slow the rover’s descent