Lost Beagle2 probe found 'intact' on Mars
The missing Mars robot Beagle2 has been found on the surface of the Red Planet, apparently intact. High-resolution images taken from orbit have identified its landing location, and it looks to be in one piece. The UK-led probe tried to make a soft touchdown on Mars in 2003, using parachutes and airbags.
Many scientists assumed it had been destroyed in a high-velocity impact. The new pictures, acquired by Nasa's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, give the lie to that notion, and hint at what really happened to the European mission. Beagle's design incorporated a series of deployable "petals", on which were mounted its solar panels. From the images, it seems that this system did not unfurl fully.
"Without full deployment, there is no way we could have communicated with it as the radio frequency antenna was under the solar panels," explained Prof Mark Sims, Beagle's mission manager from Leicester University.