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Beagle 2 declared lost
Posted: Thu, Feb 12, 2004, 10:34 AM ET (1534 GMT)
Beagle 2 lander illustration (Beagle 2) The British government and ESA will begin an investigation into the Beagle 2 lander, which project officials have declared lost after failing to contact Earth since its December 25 landing. Project officials said they wrote off the mission after a meeting of the Beagle 2 Management Board on February 6, although that decision was not formally announced until Wednesday. With the mission now declared lost, the British government and ESA will undertake a joint investigation into the failure of the mission. The investigation will be led by ESA Inspector General René Bonnefoy with a British deputy chairman; no one on the board was directly involved with the mission. The investigation will look into both the technical causes for the failure as well as programmatic issues, including management and funding. The board is expected to issue its final report by the end of March. Beagle 2 was a small British-built lander that was carried to Mars on ESA's Mars Express orbiter mission. The spacecraft was on a trajectory to land on Mars early on December 25, but no signals from the lander were ever received by groundbased antennas or NASA or ESA spacecraft.
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