Space scientist Prof Colin Pillinger has died

Planetary scientist Professor Colin Pillinger, who was known for his Beagle 2 Mars mission, has died aged 70. Prof Pillinger ended his academic career at the Open University in Milton Keynes.

Live updates

Advertisement

Blur star pays tribute to space scientist

Blur star James Credit: PA

Alex James from Blur, who worked with Prof Pillinger on the Beagle 2 project, has paid tribute to the scientist

The Essex musician-turned-farmer helped to finance the space project and the band created the probe's call sign.

"Colin had the rare gift of being able to make things that were complicated and ambitious seem simple and achievable. We need more scientists like that. He was unique, and I will miss him."

  1. National

Family: Pillinger death 'devastating and unbelievable'

The family of planetary scientist Professor Colin Pillinger told the BBC his death was "devastating and unbelievable".

Planetary scientist Professor Colin Pillinger died today aged 70. Credit: Johnny Green/PA Wire

The pioneering scientist, who was best known for the ill-fated Beagle 2 mission to Mars, became a professor in interplanetary science at the Open University in 1991.

He also earned a host of other qualifications and numerous awards during his prestigious career.

Advertisement

  1. National

Prof Pillinger best known for ill-fated Mars mission

Planetary scientist Professor Colin Pillinger, who died today aged 70, was most famous for the ill-fated Beagle 2 mission to Mars.

Professor Colin Pillinger with the Beagle 2 landing craft in 2002. Credit: Tim Ockenden/PA Archive

The craft was supposed to land on the planet on Christmas Day 2003 and search for signs of life but vanished without a trace.

It was last seen heading towards the red planet on December 19 after separating from its European Space Agency mothership Mars Express.

Afterwards Prof Pillinger spoke of his frustration at the failed probe, and said there was nothing that should not have worked.

Back to top

Latest ITV News reports