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Ironduke
25 Dec 03,, 07:19
No Mars signal from Beagle probe

Scientists have failed to pick up an expected signal from British-built spacecraft Beagle 2 telling them it has landed safely on Mars.

The 35m probe should have landed at 0254 GMT on Christmas Day after a 400 million kilometre, six month flight.

Nasa's Mars Odyssey orbiter has since flown over its landing site but failed to detect the expected call sign.

The giant Jodrell Bank telescope, in Cheshire, UK, will come on line at about 2200 GMT to listen for signals.

If both options fail, the Nasa spacecraft will have a daily chance to pick up the signal until 3 January, when Europe's Mars Express craft - the mother ship now orbiting the planet - begins its mission.

However, if nothing has been received by the end of Boxing Day, hopes for Beagle 2 will start to fade.

The probe must recharge its batteries on the day it lands or it will not survive the first night on Mars.

Speaking at the Open University's offices in Camden, north London, Beagle's lead scientist, Professor Colin Pillinger, told reporters: "I'm afraid it's a bit disappointing - but it's not the end of the world.

"Please don't go away from here believing we've lost the spacecraft.

"We've just gone into extra time, there's no penalty shootout yet," he said

He said a number of reasons could be to blame for them not picking up the signal, beyond the craft not making it to the planet surface in one piece.

Beagle 2's aerial could be pointing in the wrong direction, or it could be in a place on Mars where they did not expect it to be.

Mars mission

Beagle 2's plunge through the thin atmosphere of Mars, slowed by parachutes and cushioned by airbags, is the most dangerous part of the mission.

If successful, Beagle 2 will embark on a 180-day mission to search for signs of life.

The historical odds of success are low. Despite more than 30 missions launched at the Red Planet since the 1960s, only three landers have ever reached the Martian surface successfully.

All of these were costly American missions, unlike Beagle 2, which was put together in record time and on a shoestring budget.

"On the day you have to win the lottery," Beagle 2 mission manager, Dr Mark Sims, of Leicester University, told the BBC.

"All the engineering analysis says it should work but if something goes wrong - we hit a wind shear during entry or we're unlucky to hit a nice sharp rock on the first bounce then maybe it's game over by that point.

"Hopefully we'll be alright but all I ask is that everybody keeps their fingers crossed on Christmas Day for us."


In another high-risk manoeuvre, Mars Express successfully entered into orbit around the planet early on Thursday morning, mission chief Mike McKay said.

The craft will send back 3-D pictures of the surface and scan for underground water with a powerful radar.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3344693.stm

tomas
07 Jan 04,, 09:26
the thing has gone either destroyed on impact, incinerated in the atmosphere or the life they were looking for was still there and hid it from us. :D :D :sniper

Trooth
07 Jan 04,, 12:49
heehee. Surely the little grey guy in your lcoation has a webcam up to the landing site?

Today is the last chance of contact, they reckon. Whilst Jodrell bank should really hve detected it, Mars Exrepss was specifically designed to talk to Beagle (Mars Odyssey was just nearby at the time of the landing).

Mars Express is overhead today!

tomas
08 Jan 04,, 09:11
Originally posted by Trooth
heehee. Surely the little grey guy in your lcoation has a webcam up to the landing site?

Today is the last chance of contact, they reckon. Whilst Jodrell bank should really hve detected it, Mars Exrepss was specifically designed to talk to Beagle (Mars Odyssey was just nearby at the time of the landing).

Mars Express is overhead today!

thats class but the real reason they sent it up was a hostage situation you see we have 3 grey men at area 51 we sent one back to give us some new tech but he managed to escape. :D :D :sniper :taynk

Anvilanthony
22 Feb 04,, 00:56
This was divine intervention for getting in our way of the liberation of iraq.

Trooth
22 Feb 04,, 01:36
Eh?

Ironduke
22 Feb 04,, 02:16
Originally posted by Anvilanthony
This was divine intervention for getting in our way of the liberation of iraq.
Perhaps you ought to take 5 seconds to stop and think before you blurt something out. As you are probably well aware, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland did not get in our way, and they actually sent 20,000 men to assist us in Iraq. The administer the SE portion of Iraq, including Basra.

tomas
23 Feb 04,, 10:25
yeah that is right so dont put in strange posts