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Long-lost Mars Lander Found

Published by: Ronnie on 16th Jan 2015 | View all blogs by Ronnie
Long-lost Mars Lander Found
 
European Space Agency officials announced on Friday that the British-built Beagle 2 Mars lander had been found more than a decade after it was presumed lost.  According to the report, scientists made the discovery after examining hundreds of photographs taken by a high resolution camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.  The fate of the Beagle 2 lander had been unknown since Christmas Day, 2003, when it was supposed to land on our red cosmic neighbor and begin transmitting data back to Earth.  Scientists had assumed the craft had been destroyed either on approach to Mars or while attempting to land, because it never started transmitting.  According to the photographs, the lander did make it to the Mars surface, but never fully deployed or started sending comunications.  The news came as something of a relief to scientists that worked on the Beagle 2, ending eleven years of wondering what had happened to the spacecraft.
 
Since the Beagle's disappearance in 2003, several successful Mars landings have taken place, giving scientists the type of data that was the goal of Beagle 2.  That's not to say that Mars landings have become routine, as less than half of all Mars missions since the 1960s have been successful.  NASA has been the clear leader in Mars missions, with 20, and has had by far the highest success rate, at 70 percent.  Russia is a close second in attempts, launching 18 missions to the Red Planet, but has only been reached Mars on 14 percent of those missions.

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