Status Report

Mars Odyssey reports no contact with Beagle 2 on eighth attempt

By SpaceRef Editor
January 1, 2004
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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’ time.

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.


Beagle 2 has been pre-programmed to send a pulsing on-off signal once a minute
(10 seconds on, 50 seconds off) during daylight hours on Mars. Some 9 minutes
later, this call home should reach Earth after a journey of about 100 million
miles (157 million km).

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


The planned communication times are detailed in the landing timeline,

SpaceRef staff editor.