Mars Encounter, Christmas Astrobiology Magazine

Around Christmas, Europe’s first Mars lander, Beagle 2, will encounter the large equatorial basin known as Isidis Planitia. Unlike the twin NASA rovers also on course for their early 2004 landings, Beagle 2 is more like a mining furnace than a wheeled car. Expected to test martian soil for any evidence of remnant biological activity, the soft-lander continues a journey first began with the 1970’s Viking explorations–how best to explore for biosignatures using a remote laboratory?