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No contact yet with Beagle 2
Posted: Thu, Dec 25, 2003, 10:21 AM ET (1521 GMT)
Beagle 2 lander illustration (Beagle 2) The British-built Beagle 2 spacecraft landed on the surface of Mars early Thursday, but ground controllers have yet to establish communications with the spacecraft. The spacecraft was scheduled to land in the Isidis Planitia region of Mars at 9:52 pm EST Wednesday (0252 GMT Thursday). The first opportunity to receive signals from the spacecraft came three hours later, when NASA’s Mars Odyssey spacecraft flew over the landing site; the NASA spacecraft failed to pick up any signals from Beagle 2. Project officials said the lack of communications, while a concern, does not mean the mission has failed: they point out alternative explanations such as a landing outside the expected area or an antenna not pointing in the proper direction. Another opportunity to detect signals from Beagle 2 will come Thursday evening at about 5 pm EST (2200 GMT), using the Jodrell Bank radio telescope in the UK.
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