Space Robotics

Closing the Book on Beagle 2

Posted 24 Aug 2004 at 19:08 UTC by steve Share This

A flurry of stories out today talk about the possible reasons for the demise of the Beagle 2 Mars probe. No definite cause for the probe's loss has been found but a secret ESA report concluded the cause was poor mangement and offered 19 recommendations for future missions. A new 288-page internal report from the Beagle 2 team itself offers a number of possible theories and lessons learned from the experience. Among their guesses are parachute failure, airbag failure, heatshield failure, or an unexpected thin atmosphere at the entry point that led to an excessively high impact speed. One theory suggests that the probe actually landed successfully and has been fully operational except for a broken antenna or transmitter. Meanwhile, Beagle 3 is becoming the focus of attention now and it's likely the new version of the robot space probe will hitch a ride on a US Mars mission scheduled for 2009.

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