Diagram of the proposed Beagle 3
Beagle 3 (also called Beagle 2: Evolution) is a proposed Mars lander mission to search for life on Mars, past or present. Beagle 3 is the proposed successor to the failed British Beagle 2 Mars lander. Beagle 3 was promoted by Professor Colin Pillinger, lead scientist on the Beagle 2. 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 3 would be 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 NASA to hitch a ride on 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)
- A gas analysis package (Gap) to test soil and rock for biosignatures and biomolecules
- 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 data.
- 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.