Beagle 3

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Diagram of the proposed Beagle 3

Beagle 3[1][2] (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 British Beagle 2 Mars lander, which landed successfully on 25 December 2003,[3][4] but failed to fully deploy all of its solar panels and communications antenna. 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 American space agency (NASA) to hitch a ride on the Mars Science Laboratory Mars lander,[5][6] but the proposal was not accepted.

Colin Pillinger died in 2014 not knowing that the Beagle 2 mission had in fact landed correctly on Mars.

Proposed payload[edit]

  • Advanced solar cell technology, meaning two disc-shaped solar arrays (as opposed to the previous four)[1]
  • A gas analysis package (Gap) to test soil and rock for biosignatures and biomolecules[1]
  • 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.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Scientists lift veil on Beagle 3
  2. ^ Beagle 3 To The Moon? No Chance.
  3. ^ "Lost Beagle 2 probe found 'intact' on Mars". Retrieved 16 January 2015. 
  4. ^ Pearson, Michael (16 January 2015). "UK's Beagle 2 lander spotted on Mars". CNN. Retrieved 2015-01-17. 
  5. ^ Rincon, Paul (26 July 2004). "'Beagle 3' looks to American ride". BBC News. Retrieved 2008-11-16. 
  6. ^ Highfield, Roger (25 Aug 2004). "Beagle 'may go to Mars on Nasa's flying bedstead'". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2008-11-16. 

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