On this Friday, January 16th, 2014, the U.K. Space Agency will be holding a press conference about the Beagle 2 Mars Lander. Why, you ask? Good question, I say. You’re smart.
Beagle 2 resting on Mars(not a real photograph) All Rights Reserved Beagle 2
Beagle 2 was supposed to touch down gently on the surface of Mars on December 25th, 2003. It successfully deployed from the Mars Express orbiter on December 19th, 2003, and then, nothing. Contact was lost and everyone assumed that it did not touch down gently, but probably smashed into the surface of Mars.
Now, all of sudden, some 11 years later, they want to talk about it. So, again, why? When looking at the panel of really smart people who will be present, we begin to see why.
The speakers include Beagle 2 Manager Mark Sims; U.K. Space Agency Chief Executive David Parker; Alvaro Giménez Cañete, ESA’s director of science and robotic exploration; and John Bridges, a science team member on NASA’s Curiosity rover and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) missions.
That last guy from NASA, being the key component. Since they have somebody from a team that is currently operating a rover on Mars, the general consensus is that Curiosity (NASA’s current Mars rover) has found the Beagle 2, or what remains of her.
So, if you are up at 4:15 am on Friday and having nothing better to do, you may be able to find it a webcast of the three hour long new conference somewhere. (At the time of this posting, it wasn’t clear if it would be webcast, much less telling us when and where). Or, you could just wait for the official announcement that you will hear upon waking Friday morning. I will post when I hear, for those of you who hang on my every word.