Status Report

Beagle 2 – Media Briefing on latest communication attempts

By SpaceRef Editor
January 21, 2004
Filed under , , ,

Venue: The Science Media Centre, the Royal Institution of Great

Britain, 21 Albemarle Street, London W1S 4BS

Date: 26 January 2004

Time: 1400 GMT.

Registration: 13.45 GMT

On 12 January a period of radio silence was initiated when no attempts
were made to contact Beagle 2. Maintaining radio silence for a period
of ten days is intended to force Beagle 2 into a communication mode that
should ensure that the transmitter is switched on for the majority of
the daytime on Mars and thus will improve the chance of the Mars Express
orbiter making contact.

During this ten-day period Mars Express has listened for Beagle 2 but
only for very short periods when Beagle 2 may not have been switched

The ten-day radio silence period ends today [22 January], just before a
fly-over by Mars Express. However, it is not intended to hail the Lander
immediately. This cautious approach is based on the fact that the end
of the ten-day period of radio silence cannot be predicted with total
confidence. This is because the absolute accuracy of the timer on Beagle
2 could have been affected by the temperature on Mars, making the clock
run slightly faster or slower than predicted.

It has therefore been decided to choose a pair of opportunities when
Mars Express flies over the Beagle 2 landing site, namely the nights of
24 and 25 January. These two flights cover the widest possible area
where Beagle 2 should be, giving the best chance of calling the Lander
and getting a response from the continuous transmission.

The results from these latest attempts to communicate with Beagle 2
will be announced by Prof. Colin Pillinger, Beagle 2 Lead Scientist and
Dr. Mark Sims, Beagle 2 Mission Manager, on 26 January, at a media
briefing to be held at The Science Media Centre, The Royal Institution
of Great Britain, 21 Albemarle Street, London W1S 4BS, at 1400 GMT.

Journalists wishing to attend should register in advance by emailing


Peter Barratt

Mobile: +44 (0)787 9602899


Gill Ormrod

Tel: +44 (0)1793-442012

Mobile: +44 (0)781-8013509


Julia Maddock

Tel: +44 (0)1793-442094

Mobile: +44 (0)7901-514975


For further details on Beagle 2 and Mars Express see the following

SpaceRef staff editor.