Last Christmas 2003 and thought to have been destroyed in space, photos from NASA now show that the United Kingdom’s Beagle-2 actually did land on its intended target, Mars, according to CNN.
The pictures show that the UK’s Beagle 2 solar panels didn’t fully open after landing, preventing the craft from getting power and exposing the antenna, it would have used to communicate with controllers on Earth back in December 2003 stated the UK Space Agency.
“The mission of the Beagle-2 was to land on Mars and transmit data back to Earth, but the lander went dark more than 11 years ago and was eventually declared lost,” reported breathcast.com. ” At the time, it was presumed to have either been destroyed on the trip or destroyed while trying to land on the planet.”
“We are not looking at a crash site,” David Parker, of the UK Space Agency, told theguardian.com. “We have good evidence of Beagle 2 resting on the surface of Mars. These images are consistent with the Beagle 2 having successfully landed on Mars but then only partially deploying itself.”
The lander was first spotted in the NASA images by Michael Croon. Croon and 2 other team members have spent years looking through images from NASA’s HiRISE camera, which is on the agency’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, searching for signs of the missing craft, the UK Space Agency said.
He found it in an area near the planned landing zone, an impact basin called Isidis Planitia close to the Martian equator according to cnn.com.
“While the mystery of the Beagle-2 has now been solved, it remains to be seen if they’ll find a way to get it back to working order,” reports breathcast.com.