Beagle 3 (also called Beagle 2: Evolution) was a proposed Mars lander mission to search for life on Mars, past or present. Beagle 3 was the proposed successor to the unsuccessful British Beagle 2 Mars lander (which failed during its attempted landing in 2003). The craft was put forward by Professor Colin Pillinger, lead scientist on the previous failed venture. EADS Astrium also played a part in funding and early development of the project. Pillinger dreamed of launching up to two landing craft from an orbiter in 2009 as part of the European Space Agency's Aurora Programme. The putative Beagle craft would have been named after the ship HMS Beagle that took Charles Darwin around the world.
After the Beagle 3 project was rejected by ESA in 2004, Pillinger proposed to the American space agency (NASA) to include a scientific module originally meant for the Beagle 3 in the Mars Science Laboratory Mars lander, but the proposal was not accepted.
- Advanced solar cell technology, meaning two disc-shaped solar arrays (as opposed to the previous four)
- Fanfold system - so the top of the vehicle remains horizontal (location for the main UHF antenna)
- Powerful X-band (8.0 to 12.0 GHz) antenna for direct vehicle-to-Earth radio link on the vehicle's main shell, to provide real-time descent statistics
- New lithium-ion battery technology - to be able to operate at lower temperatures, meaning less power wasted on heating - a possible 60% capacity boost to that of Beagle 2
- Deadbeat airbags, which inflate just before touch-down, and gently deflate during landing, so that the probe could come to a stop where it lands, and not bounce to a stop.
- Life-chips, which detect the presence of amino acids.
- Scientists lift veil on Beagle 3
- Beagle 3 To The Moon? No Chance.
- Rincon, Paul (26 July 2004). "'Beagle 3' looks to American ride". BBC News. Retrieved 2008-11-16.
- Highfield, Roger (25 Aug 2004). "Beagle 'may go to Mars on Nasa's flying bedstead'". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2008-11-16.