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cydermaster

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For the last few months the European 'Mars Express' probe has been speeding towards Mars. Earlier today, the lander - Beagle 2 - separated, and started spinning its way towards the surface. Touchdown is in the early hours (GMT) of Xmas day.

So far, so good. Separation seemed to go ok, and they managed to get a pic of Beagle floating off.


Beagle 2 website.


..... oh, and Beagle 2 is British!! :D
 

illini

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Excellent! Lots of good unmanned Mars exploration coming in the next few months. Good to see Beagle 2 still going strong. Have any insight on the possible impact of recent Martian weather (dust storms) on landing of Beagle 2?
 

Darian Rachal

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There's a good article about the Beagle, & the US probes which will land in Jan., in the Jan.04 issue of Sky & Telescope. Of course I'm pretty excited about the infrared telescope in orbit, that has just started producing results. I'm particularly interested in the views it will eventually produce of the center of the Milky Way in Sagitarius. :)
 

Mike

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Yep, I'm looking forward to Beagle's landing. What's really great is the money these guys have had to work with, something like £75million yet here they are sending probes to Mars.

If I remember right once it's on the right trajectory the entire system will shut down except one small clock. The next time we'll hear from Beagle will be 05:15 GMT on Christmas day when Mars Odyssey will relay the signal back to Earth.

Anyway, Good Luck Beagle 2!
 

cydermaster

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The Open University showed two programes on BBC2 earlier this week, introduced by (and staring) Keith Allen, which were fascinating. They covered the financial side of the project in almost as much detail as the technical side of it. With the budget restraints they've been under, its amazing its got as far as it has. To land & be able to function, will be a tribute to the dedication & ingenuity of the Beagal team.

Unfortunatly, being Open University, the aforementioned programs were on ludicrously late, so most people missed them. If the project is succesful, I hope they repeat them at a reasonable time, 'cos they were actually quite good.
 

Mike

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Originally posted by Mike
...once it's on the right trajectory...
Whoops my bad, Beagle has no propulsion system so Mars Express lined it up before pushing it out. So having seperated now it had better be at the right angle! :D
 

vjp

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Good luck to you folks there on the other side of the pond!:D

I hope you can avoid the "Mars Curse".

These are going to be an exciting few months ahead of us. I'm hoping the Beagle will reveal some hints of Martian biology. It looks like the U.K. lander will focus on biology, while the U.S. rovers are focused more on geology. It's a shame that we aren't sending manned missions there, though.

I hope NASA TV will broadcast some snippets of info about the Beagle mission. After all, NASA is involved with the mission to an extent, since they're using their orbiter to relay some of the data, from what I understand. If not, maybe BBC America will keep us informed.
 

rabidsheeep

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anyone hear about that rumor that nasa is gonna take another trip to the moon? i mean they only start that rumor every other day but i dunno...

also, I LOVE BRITISH PEOPLE!!
 

cydermaster

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Originally posted by vjp
... maybe BBC America will keep us informed.
I hope they do, after all, one of BBC America's aims is to keep ex-pats up to speed on whats going on back home in Blighty. If not, Aunty Beeb's site: www.bbc.co.uk contains loads of stuff about it.
 

NewEntity1

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Nice! I hadn't seen that separation pic before! Space.com just had an animation of the event... :)
 

DavRedf

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Sounds like peanuts
Charlie Brown to Linus " The Beagle has landed"
Sorry
David
 

cydermaster

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Beagle 2 is due to land on Mars at 02:54 GMT tomorrow (25th). At 06:30-07:00 GMT we'll get the first chance of getting a signal, and find if Beagle landed OK, or spacked.

I'm gonna be either fast asleep, or too drunk to care, when the Beagle lands; but I'm keeping my fingers crossed for it!

:D
 

Mike

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Yep good luck Beagle, I think the first thing I do tomorrow will be check to see if its down safely. Fingers crossed!
 

cydermaster

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No signal from Beagle, this morning. :eek:

Could be any number of things why theres no signal, not just the chance Beagle 2 core-sampled!

The website says that they're waiting for 10pm-Midnight (GMT), tonight, to see if a signal can be picked up by the Jodrell Bank
Observatory.

Good luck Beagle Team!
 

arthur dent

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I really hope we get a signal tonight.Professor Pillenger deserves all the good luck he can get.The whole beagle project is a fantastic venture and if it works it will be a real boost for the little guy.he has taken some real stick from the science snobs of this world so lets hope beagle sends its song tonight.:)
 

Mike

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It was a pretty disappointing start to the day. Fingers crossed we get to hear Blur coming from it later on tonight.
 

NewEntity1

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At least the Mars Express Orbiter appears to be a complete success...that portion of the mission was better funded, anyway.

Not only does the Beagle lander have no backup systems, but...according to some JPL analysts...even if all systems worked as designed, the lander might still fail, due to some design flaws in the lander. One noted mistake was the use of an aeroshell design meant for a nitrogen atmosphere (they based their design off of Huygens)...the C02 atmosphere of Mars has a greater resistance at a given pressure, and could result in the aeroshell disintigrating on entry. Another major mistake was relying purily on parachutes and airbags for the landing, with no entry rocket fireings to slow the lander down. NASA feels that parachutes+airbags alone is not enough for the thin Martian atmosphere.

Still, we can hope...
 

dwmzmm

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I can remember when the two Vikings
made it into orbit around Mars...the
original landing sites turned out to
be a little rougher than they had
predicted. The scheduled landings had
to be delayed for a little bit until
a smoother landing area could be
scouted from the orbiting mothership.
That's one thing about the landing
sequence of the Beagle spacecraft I
felt uneasy about...separation a full
six days before arrival to Mars...
seems to me the chance of something
going wrong during landing is greater
coming in in this fashion. However, I
still have my fingers crossed that
all went well and that we'll hear from
the lander shortly.
 

NewEntity1

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The Jodrell Bank Observatory in Britain failed to acquire a signal :(
 

Justy

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Space.com says:
Ground teams will make another attempt Friday at picking up Beagle-2 signals at 1:15 p.m. EST (1815 GMT) when NASA's Odyssey satellite orbiting Mars overflies what is thought to be Beagle-2's landing zone.
space.com story here.
 

Mike

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We're still in the window for this evening's Odyssey fly over but still nothing from Beagle. In early January Mars Express will fly over the proposed landing site so well be able to see if it's there..or not!
 

astronboy

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Ummm.. It doesn't look good...

"27-Dec-03 00:25 GMT
...................................................
Summary

Tonight's scan for a signal from Beagle 2 by the 250 ft (76 m) Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank Observatory in Cheshire, UK, was unsuccessful. "




:(
 

Mike

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I think the team still have plenty of options though. Mars Express was intended to be the main communication link, that will come into operation on 4th January. Around the 4th January Beagle will switch to an automatic transmission mode after a set amount of communication failures, this should give a larger window for communcation.

There is also the possibility that the small onboard clock was reset by a computer glitch meaning it's timing is out, an attempt was made to reset this clock through Odyssey...we don't know whether that was successfull. Other causes could be landing off course, tilting of the lander or that the solar panel aren't open fully. The latter would result in a weak signal.

Professor Southward said "At the moment, I am frustrated rather than concerned,"
 
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