Christmas on Mars?

Back on 31st October 2006 the British Rocket Group (also known as BERG) launched Guinevere One towards Mars. The trip has taken a very quick two months and the lander should be touching down later on today. Of course, the Prime Minister (Harriet Jones) has been claiming some of the credit for this mission (preparations for which started several years before her recent appointment), so she must be hoping that it doesn't go the same way as Beagle II did. Especially as the latest data from Mars Reconnaisance Orbiter still hasn't located the crash site. Whatever happens, there is bound to be coverage on the TV tonight.

Guinevere One should be landing at about 7pm GMT and shortly after it will begin transmitting live video images - with a delay of about 20 minutes due to the finite speed of light - from Isidis Planitia. Later, several robotic rovers will study the soil around the landing site as well as provide ground-based information about the martian weather. Since the Opportunity rover stopped working during the martian winter, we've been down to just one rover on the red planet. Hopefully there will be a few more by tomorrow.

Guinevere One is also carrying a suite of messages to alien life that are similar to those on Voyager I. This is rather bizarre, as there isn't thought to be any life on Mars and certainly none that could read! This is really just a publicity stunt to get press and public attention.

Of course, it isn't the end of 2006. Most of this post is fiction created to fit in with the special Christmas edition of Doctor Who.

Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Sunday 25th Dec 2005 (00:00 UTC) | Permalink
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