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Space Park Leicester to Commemorate 20th Anniversary of Beagle 2 Mars Lander: Lost and Found

Beagle 2 mounted on ESA’s Mars Express, just prior to launch (small black cone facing right)

Space Park Leicester is thrilled to invite the public to join an event commemorating the 20th anniversary of the landing of the Beagle 2 Mars Lander on Christmas Day 2003, an extraordinary mission that captivated the world’s attention.

Professor of Astrobiology and Space Instrumentation at the University of Leicester, and Beagle 2 Mission Manager Mark Sims will provide an in-depth exploration of Beagle 2’s science, team, engineering, and historical significance at the Space Park Conversations event at 3pm on Friday, December 8.

Responsible for the instruments and flight operations Mark also served as the Study Manager for the first two years of the project.

“In May 1997 Colin Pillinger suggested sending a lander (Beagle 2) to Mars as part of ESA’s Mars Express mission launching in 2003.  Despite initial reservations, from 1997 to 2004 a large team including myself attempted to achieve the goal of world class science on Mars.

“Unfortunately, the probe never communicated after landing on Christmas Day 2003 and was thought lost. It was however discovered on Mars in November 2014. The project changed mine and many people’s lives and was a wild ride with its ups and downs and helped changed the space sector. It is fitting 20 years on to remember the mission and describe to a new generation what happened.”

Professor Mark Sims

UoL space research centre official opening. 5th April 2022

Beagle 2’s legacy extends beyond its initial mission, influencing subsequent planetary explorations, including the Rosalind Franklin ExoMars Rover. The mission, considered ahead of its time, has left a lasting impact on space exploration. Recent studies have even drawn upon Beagle 2’s engineering and lessons for small probes on Mars.

The event promises to be a unique opportunity for attendees to gain insights into the Beagle 2 mission, appreciate its accomplishments, and reflect on the contributions it made to the UK’s prominence in planetary missions. Professor Sims will present captivating images of the mission hardware and share captivating stories about the Beagle 2 mission and team.

For more information about the event and to book tickets, please visit the Space Park Leicester Eventbrite page or click:

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