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 the dusty world on Christmas Day, 2003, using parachutes and airbags – but no radio contact was ever made with the probe. 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. “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.