Status Report

31 Dec 2003: Beagle 2- communication attempts continue

By SpaceRef Editor
December 31, 2003
Filed under , , ,

The eighth attempt by NASA’s Mars Odyssey orbiter to communicate with
Beagle 2 was made this morning, but no data were received. This was the
eleventh programmed contact period, including three communication
opportunities with Jodrell Bank radio observatory, since Beagle 2 landed
on 25 December.

News on the outcome of today’s communication attempt via Mars Odyssey
was delayed for several hours because NASA’s Deep Space Network is also
being used for the Mars Exploration Rover and Stardust missions, which
will be reaching their climax in the next few days.

As from last night, Beagle 2 should have switched to an emergency mode
known as ‘communication search mode 1’ (CSM 1). When the lander switches
to CSM 1, it attempts to communicate twice every Martian day (sol),
during the best daytime and best night-time pass by an available orbiter.

Meanwhile, ESA’s Mars Express orbiter was successfully inserted into a
polar orbit around the Red Planet yesterday morning. This manoeuvre means
that Mars Express will be ideally placed to communicate with Beagle 2
when it passes over the landing site in Isidis Planitia in a few days’

An updated list of future opportunities to communicate with Beagle 2,
including pre-programmed sessions with Mars Express, is posted on the
Beagle 2 Web site.

The next Beagle 2 press briefing is scheduled to take place at the
Media Centre in Camden on Sunday 4 January. Details will be confirmed
on the Web sites at a later date.

SpaceRef staff editor.