It looks like it's two down and two to go. ESA's rover called Beagle
2 was scheduled to land Christmas morning, but so far the
Beagle hasn't phoned home. There could be a
multitude of reasons why communications have not been
established. It could be just that the Beagle 2 has to recharge its
batteries on the first day or it won't last the night. At least
we know that the Ma
rs Express Orbitor seems to be OK. ESA scientists haven't given't
up hope yet on Beagle 2, but it already seems like Mars has claimed
another victim (we lost Japan's rover
earlier this month). With all of these failed Mars craft, should we
really send humans to Mars?
My nominees are: Michael Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor and Oprah. If
there is room for more passengers, I can also suggest several
CEOs, politicians, automobile dealers, doctors and lawyers that
should be sent somewhere far away from Houston.
The continued hopes for Beagle seem unrealistic in my opinion.
Generally with these things if they don't begin transmitting shortly
after landing then they're never going to transmit.
There are many things which could have gone wrong. The parachutes
might have failed, or the air bags, or the robot might have landed in a
ditch or got wedged between rocks so that the 'petals' can't open
fully. Or it could have just landed on a steep slope with its antenna
pointing in the wrong direction.