Lost Lander Found on Mars
NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has spotted the European Beagle-2 on Mars, 12 years after the lander lost contact during its descent to the red planet.
Beagle-2 hitched a ride to Mars onboard the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Mars Express mission in 2003. The stationary lander was small, just 30 kg, but carried a sophisticated chemical laboratory. It was designed as Europe’s first life-hunting mission to Mars.
More than a decade later, tiny Beagle-2 has been spotted on Mars using the high-resolution camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The lander appears to be partially deployed, proving that Beagle-2 made a successful entry, descent and landing. Now the question is “What went wrong?”