The separation command was sent to Beagle 2 at 08:31GMT. By now, providing everything has gone ok, it should have separated from Mars Express and be rotating like a spinning top away from the ‘mothership’. ME should have taken a picture as it departed, that’ll be available a few hours later.
Confirmation that the separation has been successful should be received at around 10:40 GMT…More news as I see it.
Beagle 2 has no propulsion mechanism of its own, so has been carefully targeted at a certain point in the martian atmosphere. It should land early on Christmas morning.
UPDATE: Success! Phew 🙂
That’s far from the most worrying part, however. When landing, Beagle 2 is first slowed down by parachutes (which were very problematic in testing, but they hopefully got that sorted out). The parachutes are released at 200m, at which point gas bags inflate. Beagle 2 then hits the ground, bounces, up to heights of 30m in Mars’ low gravity, for perhaps 100m, before throwing the gas bags aside and dropping a short distance onto the surface. There’s a lot that could go wrong…but it’s worth it 🙂 This time in a week we’ll know.