Tuesday, December 23, 2008

New theory emerges for 2003 disappearance of mars probe

During June of 2003, the European Space Agency launched the Mars Express spacecraft to search for signs of life on Mars. The idea was to dispatch a probe, the Beagle 2, to land on the Martian surface and sniff around. But shortly after releasing the probe, on Christmas Day, 2003, the probe went dark. Did it burn up in the atmosphere? Experience a fatal crash on the surface? Maybe the Beagle 2 made it, but found something mission controllers decided the public wasn't ready to see.

In 2005, scientist thought they spotted the Beagle 2's wreckage with a NASA satellite, but it
turned out to be nothing. Now, a new theory suggests mission scientists miscalculated the Martian atmosphere, which caused the probe to burn up during its descent, reports the BBC.

Queensland University researchers suggest that, when the probe was released, it was spinning too fast (some spin is required to stabilize its descent).

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.