No life on Beagle II?

Jodrell Bank has been trying to 'listen' for the weak transmissions from Beagle II on the surface of Mars since Christmas day. Beagle II is about as powerful as a mobile phone and would only have been transmitting for 10 seconds of every minute, making it quite difficult to detect at the distance of Mars. To make it even harder, it is not transmitting at a stable frequency but is shifting about in frequency. Jodrell has failed to detect Beagle II over the last few days and has now given up as the landing site will not be suitably visible from Cheshire while Mars is above the horizon.

It seems that Jodrell is not alone though; Mars Odyssey (a NASA Mars orbiter) also failed to pick up Beagle II as did the Stanford telescope. The BNSC in Leicester now has a team set up to try to work out what has happened to the lander. Hopefully it has not met a fate similar to the Mars Polar Lander back in 1998. Everyone now has their fingers crossed in the hope that Mars Express will be able to make contact when it gets into a suitable position next weekend after New Year.

Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Monday 29th Dec 2003 (01:20 UTC) | Permalink
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