British, European Space Agencies Open Inquiry into Beagle 2 Loss

The European and British space agencies on Feb. 11 announced the creation of a board of inquiry to determine how future Mars missions might avoid the fate of the lost Beagle 2 lander, which has not been seen or heard from since its Dec. 19 separation from the Mars Express orbiter. So little is known about what happened to Beagle 2 — it is presumed to have entered the Martian atmosphere and landed on Dec. 25 — that the inquiry will focus less on specific causes of the mission’s failure than a broad survey of Beagle 2’s financing, development and testing.