On December 19, 2003, the Mars Express orbiter released a tiny spaceship called the Beagle 2. The small lander streaked through the thin Martian atmosphere at well over 12 thousand miles per hour and was never heard from again.
From the Global News article:
- After more than 11 years, European Space Agency officials reported that the Beagle 2 had been finally found – thanks to extensive detective work based on new photos taken by the high-resolution camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
- The photos show the craft landed safely on Mars and partially deployed — but was unable to fully deploy and start communicating.
More from the Global News article:
- Experts who helped identify the lander at the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Lab said the photographs are “consistent” with only a partial deployment of the Beagle 2 upon landing. They said a failure to fully deploy would explain why no data or signals from the craft were ever received, since a complete deployment of all of its solar panels would have been needed for successful transmissions.