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Lost beagle on Mars?
Posted on 12/28/2003 10:15:25 AM PST by rs79bm
SOMEHOW, "The Beagle has landed' just doesn't have the same ring as a certain, similar phrase coined in 1969 when Neil Armstrong and company first landed on the moon.
But the Mars lander dubbed the Beagle 2 was named by British scientists and engineers, who have a rather drier, less grand approach to space-exploration nomenclature than their American cousins. And the craft is named after English explorer and naturalist Charles Darwin's vessel, so there is a fine historical precedent at work.
As of Friday, there still had been no word or rather, no nine-tone song written by the Brit-rock group Blur, which actually helped finance the mission from the Beagle, and there are worries about its safety. The craft was to have landed Christmas Eve our time, and to have transmitted its dulcet tones signaling its safe arrival by now. But NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter couldn't find the Beagle on Christmas or on Friday as it flew over the broad basin called Isidis Planitia where the craft was to have landed. A Stanford radio telescope is still searching for Beagle this weekend.
It's not easy, looking for life on Mars. Two-thirds of the missions launched by Earthlings to the Red Planet have gone wrong over the years. Only one of six Russian attempts have made it and that craft was able to broadcast for all of 20 seconds before fading away. A Japanese mission headed for Mars orbit in recent weeks went awry. Most famously and most heartbreakingly for the world's leading experts on robotic space exploration, the folks at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Canada Flintridge, the 1999 Mars Polar Lander and its orbiter both failed. That led to a slowdown in the whole Mars exploration effort and cancellation of a landing planned for 2001.
But we agree with the engineers who say that the rough going should not make us give up on efforts to explore the planet most closely resembling our own in our solar system. Of course it's hard just getting spacecraft tens of millions of miles away; successfully negotiating a landing and scientific research on a remote world is naturally going to take some practice. From each mission, a total success or not, we learn much more for the efforts to come. The orbiter for the Beagle is still operating well, for instance, and has a scientific mission of its own.
And for the American space program, those efforts begin in earnest again Jan. 3 and 24, when two robotic rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, are scheduled to land in separate Martian areas thought to be prime candidates for having been under water at some time in the distant past. Where there is water there may have been life and finding signs of life elsewhere in the universe is the ultimate prize in space exploration and in expanding human knowledge. Tang and other byproducts for use here on Earth are fine, too. But here on the verge of discoveries previous human generations could only have dreamed of, Americans and citizens of the world are participating in an unrivaled age of exploration.
TOPICS: Miscellaneous; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: beagle2; mars
posted on 12/28/2003 10:15:25 AM PST
Professor Colin Pillinger, the Brit who headed up this effort, is a PR genius. From the warm puppy overtones of the name "Beagle" to his continual use of mother-and-baby imagery when discussing this $62 million contraption, this guy has the whole world wondering what happened to his toy.
Listen to this, from this article:
there are worries about its safety
Its safety? Gimme a break, it's a hunk of tin. If it went -splat- into the mountainside, that's too bad, but that's why we send machines instead of people at this stage of our Mars "expertise."
dulcet tones signaling its safe arrival
Our own more prosaically named Mars Exploration Rovers are due to arrive soon, and I bet they won't be emitting any dulcet tones. And the satellite already in place overhead isn't their mommy. But maybe they will do something else. Maybe they will work.
posted on 12/28/2003 10:36:27 AM PST
by Nick Danger
( With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine.)
HELLO EARTH...We MARTIANS are tired of your space crap. You keep sending one after the other and we keep SMASHING the S#!T out of them! Won't you EVER learn?
PS: Send Pamela Anderson back.
posted on 12/28/2003 10:39:31 AM PST
(We should be more open-minded toward people trying to kill us.)
It's true. We're eating the hardware.
Send more probes. They're delicious.
posted on 12/28/2003 10:43:44 AM PST
(Got 30 weight?)
Marvin and his Illudium Q-38 Explosive Space Modulator strike again.
posted on 12/28/2003 10:47:00 AM PST
P.S. --send more cameras next time.
posted on 12/28/2003 11:05:54 AM PST
(Insert Democratic principles and ideals here: .............this space intentionally left blank.....)
Is this it ?
posted on 12/28/2003 11:24:51 AM PST
by al baby
(Ice cream does not have bones)
Comment #8 Removed by Moderator
To: Nick Danger
posted on 12/28/2003 11:27:35 AM PST
(Socialism is Slavery)
It's so me.
posted on 12/28/2003 11:37:28 AM PST
(We're the New Galactic Order and nobody's sweet heart.)
Pasadina: Looking good, going good, we're getting great pictures here at NASA control Pasadina. Landing craft touched down on Mars 28 kilometers from the aim point. We're looking at a remarkable landscape, littered with different kinds of rocks. Red, purple... how about that, Burmuda?
Burmuda: Fantastic. Look at that dune field!
Pasadina: Hey, wait, I- I'm getting a no-go signal. Now I'm losing one of the craft. Hey Burmuda, you getting it?
Burmuda: Nah, lost contact. There's a lot of dust blowing up there.
Pasadina: Now I lost the second craft. We got problems.
Burmuda: Full contact lost, Pasadina. Maybe the antenna's--...
Pasadina: What's that flare? See it? A green flare coming from Mars. Kind of a green mist behind it. It's getting closer. You see it, Burmuda? ...Come in, Burmuda! ...Houston, come in! What's going on... tracking station 43 Canberra, come in Canberra!... tracking station 63, can you hear me Madrid... can anybody hear me? Come in...! Come in...........!
posted on 12/28/2003 11:39:55 AM PST
It's from Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds, and I don't think the transcriber can spell :)
posted on 12/28/2003 11:40:50 AM PST
To: Nick Danger
"Professor Colin Pillinger, the Brit who headed up this effort, is a PR genius."
LOL. Have to admit he snared me in :) I am so wery wery worried about our the poor wittle Beagle. Hah. Nice job Prof.
posted on 12/28/2003 11:41:05 AM PST
"The chances of life existing on Mars are a million-to-one" he said....
Better ready the THUNDERCHILD, just in case.
posted on 12/28/2003 11:43:46 AM PST
by Jonah Hex
(Free Republic - the Truth Shall Make You Fret)
To: Jonah Hex
And scattered about it, some in their overturned war-machines, some in the now rigid handling-machines, and a dozen of them stark and silent and laid in a row, were the Martians -- DEAD! -- slain by the putrefactive and disease bacteria against which their systems were unprepared; slain as the red weed was being slain; slain, after all man's devices had failed, by the humblest things that God, in his wisdom, has put upon this earth.
posted on 12/28/2003 11:46:44 AM PST
Sorry. The Earth just had to go.
It blocked my view of Venus.
posted on 12/28/2003 11:48:17 AM PST
(Acme disintegrator ray guns. They're swell!...And they'll put more than your eye out.)
Look at the bright side, this could have been a manned mission to Mars.
Robots first, Man second!
posted on 12/28/2003 11:50:39 AM PST
posted on 12/28/2003 11:51:04 AM PST
LOL, the Europeans have not have good luck vis-a-vis the US this year. May this continue unabated in 2004.....
posted on 12/28/2003 12:13:01 PM PST
(not on the bandwagon, but not contrary for contrary's sake either)
The Earth just had to go.
It was infected with liberals. As the infected cows go, so go the infected planets.
OTOH, ...got to build bypasses...
To: Calvin Locke
...Should have sub-contracted the Vogons...cheaper you know.
posted on 12/28/2003 12:25:03 PM PST
(I alway knew there was something fundamentaly wrong with the universe.)
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