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Mars orbiter images reveal Beagle 2 lander
Posted: Sat, Jan 17, 2015, 9:04 AM ET (1404 GMT)
Beagle 2 discovery image (HiRISE/JPL/NASA/Parker/Leicester) Images from a NASA spacecraft show that the UK's Beagle 2 lander, lost since it arrived at Mars in late 2003, did appear to land intact but did not fully deploy afterwards. Officials with the UK Space Agency released on Friday images from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which show an object on the surface in the expected landing area that appears to be Beagle 2. The images indicate that the small spacecraft did land intact, contrary to previous fears, but did not fully deploy its solar panels and antenna afterwards, and thus could not communicate with Earth. Beagle 2 flew to Mars as a secondary payload with ESA's Mars Express orbiter, and was scheduled to land on Mars on Christmas Day of 2003. Controllers never heard from the spacecraft after the scheduled landing time, leading to speculation that the spacecraft crashed.
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