Most people seem to think that it’s a given Beagle 2 is dead. Not so. This article explains the various reasons, possibilities and hopes: January 4th is the crucial day. By then Beagle 2 should be in automatic communication mode, and its mother, Mars Express, will arrive to receive the signals. Mars Odyssey got hit by a solar flare recently, destroying one of its instruments, so isn’t the most reliable of machines. There was also never any certainty the Jodrell Observatory would be able to pick up anything. They’ve relayed a clock reset signal via MO, in case it is the timer that’s having problems, so we’ll see if that brings any luck. If not, it’s most likely a wait until the 4th.
Forgive me for harping on about this, but it’s just so incredibly cool! I’ll give up hope when Colin Pillinger says it’s over, and not before. Today I watched West Wing season 2 Episode 9 – ‘Galileo’, which is eerily similar to current events on Mars. There’s a particularly rousing statement by Sam regarding the need for exploration. I won’t reproduce it in full, but here’s the crunch:
Why bother going to Mars?
“Because it’s next.”