The UK Space Agency and ESA managed to find Beagle 2, which was believed to have been lost during landing, after over a decade and according to mission manager the probe could still be in a working state and could be holding data.
The probe was detected through analysis of images captured by NASA’s MARS Reconnaissance Orbiter and according to the analysis, Beagle 2 managed to land successfully on Martian surface, but was only partially deployed – meaning that a maximum of three (out of four) solar panels are believed to have been deployed with its radio-antenna trapped under one of the panels because of partial deployment.
Beagle 2’s mission manager Professor Mark Sims of Leicester University is of the opinion that the probe could still be alive, working and holding data. “It might still be working,” Sims said as quoted by The Telegraph. “It still might be saying ‘I’m here, I’m here’
“There is even a possibility that it may have data in it. But the frustrating thing is that we can’t get to it. But this is not the end of the story”, he noted.
“I am delighted that Beagle 2 has finally been found on Mars,” Sims had earlier said on discovery of the probe on Mars. “The images show that we came so close to achieving the goal of science on Mars.”
Beagle 2 may have failed in its science objective, but its legacy will live on with its technology being used in European Space Agency’s ExoMars Rover mission, which is going to be launched in 2018. ESA’s probe will be drilling to depths of up to 2 metres in a bid to find traces of life on the Red planet.
“We will come back to land on Mars using a lot of lessons we have learned from Beagle 2”, said Professor Álvaro Gimemez of the European Space Agency.