Just over eleven years ago, the European Space Program launched the Mars Express mission consisting of the Mars Express Orbiter and the Beagle 2 lander (built in the UK). The orbiter successfully reached Mars in December 2003 and jettisoned the lander towards the surface, but after entering Mars’s atmosphere, the lander was never heard from again. Scientists came up with many theories as to what may have gone wrong, but there was no way to know what really happened. Until now.
Images taken in December by NASA’s HiRISE instrument aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter seem to show the Beagle 2 lander on the surface of Mars, with its solar arrays only partially deployed. Fully deployed, the lander would only be 2 meters across, which is just at the edge of the detection capabilities of HiRISE. Analysts have determined that the location of the object in question is close to the intended landing site (within 3 miles) and the structure appears to be of the right size, shape, and color that would be detected at such a distance. There’s even a possibility that additional spots on the surface could be the landers parachute and rear cover.
NASA released this video to explain how scientists deduced these tiny blips on the Martian surface could be Beagle 2:
If this is indeed Beagle 2, UK scientists can rest easy knowing that they did indeed land on Mars.
Here’s some geek that hasn’t been missing for over a decade:
- This blind woman uses echolocation like bats to sense the world around her. [AUDIO]
- Sparrows vary the length of their whistles to encode more meaning in their songs.
- Researchers explore how self-aware monkeys are when face to face with their reflection in a mirror.
- More information on flying frogs that you ever thought possible. Frog fans, this is the article for you.
- Putting the Google Translate app to the test in Times Square. [VIDEO]
- 9 things computers can do now that they couldn’t do only ONE year ago.
- 3D model of woman’s tumor saves her life. #longread
- Speaking of 3D printing, these 3D printed Fibonacci structures will hypnotize you. [VIDEO]
- And speaking of tumors, this mobile game aims to crowd source finding patterns in tumor tissue.
- Forget about yellow snow, it’s dark snow we need to worry about.
- Jaw dropping video of aurora over Canada and Iceland. Bonus: polar bear. [VIDEO]
Keep on geeking! @Summer_Ash