A Beagle was found on Mars after being missing for more than 10 years. Ok, more specifically, the Beagle 2 — a Mars lander launched by the European Space Agency in December 2003 — was recently spotted by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
“A set of three observations with the orbiter’s High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera shows Beagle 2 partially deployed on the surface of the planet, ending the mystery of what happened to the mission more than a decade ago. They show that the lander survived its Dec. 25, 2003, touchdown enough to at least partially deploy its solar arrays,” NASA said in a press release.
The images from the NASA orbiter show rear cover of the parachute, the parachute and the lander. Analysis of the high-resolution imagery shows the solar panels only partial deployed and that kept the craft cfrom communicating with mission control, back on Earth.
“Every Christmas Day since 2003 I have wondered what happened to Beagle 2. My Christmas Day in 2003 alongside many others who worked on Beagle 2 was ruined by the disappointment of not receiving data from the surface of Mars. To be frank I had all but given up hope of ever knowing what happened to Beagle 2. The images show that we came so close to achieving the goal of science on Mars,” said Mark Sims, an integral member of the Beagle 2 team.
Meteorologist Alan Raymond