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The Beagle has finally landed: brainchild of Bristol genius found on Mars

The Beagle 2 did land successfully on Mars after all. Credit: European Space Agency

A space probe designed by a Bristol scientist which disappeared while on a search for alien life has been discovered on Mars.

The UK Space Agency based in Swindon has confirmed that the British Beagle 2 spacecraft did successfully land on the planet in 2003. The mission was led by Professor Colin Pillinger, who died last year aged 70, having been awarded a CBE for his services to science.

The probe was discovered by an orbiter taking photos 185 miles above the Red Planet. It was thought the probe had not survived the mission.

The Agency now believes that it landed, but did not deploy fully, leaving it unable to contact Earth. This would make Beagle 2 the first British and European spacecraft to successfully land on the Red Planet.

Professor Pillinger's daughter said he would have loved the chance to prove his critics wrong.

Kingswood-born Professor Pillinger was the driving force behind Beagle 2's Mars mission. Credit: Matthew Fearn/PA Wire

He would have loved that this shows Beagle 2 landed on Mars ... This shows such an immense success, and not forgetting all the other things that went on in the background of Beagle 2, all the promotion of science, all of the inspiration to children.

He would love that this is in the news again. He would love that this could inspire that next generation to do Beagle 3.

– Professor Colin Pillinger's daughter Shusanah


Developer: incinerator will create 300 construction jobs

The developers of the waste incinerator planned at Javelin Park on the outskirts of Gloucester say it will create 300 construction jobs and around 40 permanent jobs when the project is completed.

Urbaser Balfour Beatty (UBB) say the plant will generate enough electricity to power approximately 26,000 homes. It will be fuelled by waste that would otherwise go to landfill, and save council tax payers £150m over 25 years.

“We are delighted with the Secretary of State’s decision to agree to the construction of the facility. The proposals were found to be in-line with the relevant planning policy and Gloucestershire County Council’s Waste Core Strategy.

“We will be working with Gloucestershire County Council to make sure the project brings as many opportunities for the local people and the economy as possible and make a positive contribution to the effects of climate change.”

– Javier Peiro, UBB

Stroud District Council 'disappointed' with incinerator decision

Stroud District Council has expressed its disappointment following the decision by Secretary of State Eric Pickles to give planning permission for the waste incinerator at Javelin Park, in Haresfield.

The district council had objected to the incinerator due to its impact on the adjacent area of outstanding natural beauty, its impact on the nearby Hunts Grove development and the inefficiency of the solution when compared to other options in terms of converting waste to energy and minimising carbon emissions.

"This is a real disappointment; however we hope that the recent appraisal of alternative options by Gloucestershire County Council will see it review its intentions.

"Whilst permission has been given, they could still opt for a solution to deal with waste which maximises recycling, maintains flexibility and minimises the impact on the environment and taxpayers’ purses.

"The case against adding more incineration capacity in the UK has become stronger and stronger and we and all the other districts should be able to work together with the county council to deliver the best solution for the future."

– Stroud District Council leader Cllr Geoff Wheeler

Government overrules Gloucestershire County Council on waste incinerator plan

The huge incinerator will be built at Javelin Park Credit: ITV News West Country

The Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has overruled Gloucestershire County Council to give permission for an incinerator to treat 150,000 tonnes of household waste.

Urbaser Balfour Beatty (UBB) was awarded a contract to design and build the facility at Javelin Park in February 2013. However, the county council's planning committee refused planning permission and UBB appealed to the Secretary of State.

Residents nearby claim the development will be the size of Gloucester Cathedral with a 70m high chimney looming over homes.

Currently over half of residents' household waste is sent to landfill, which creates harmful greenhouse gases and in 2013/14 cost £9 million in tax.

The facility will make an important change in the way Gloucestershire deals with the household waste of its 600,000 residents, diverting over 92 per cent of waste from landfill. The council says it will make a significant impact on tackling climate change by removing 40,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide and save local people more than £150million over the next 25 years.

"Today's decision means the rubbish we can't recycle can be disposed of in a safe and environmentally friendly way.

"Our aim is to reach 70 per cent recycling across the county and stop burying waste in the ground completely. As well as this new facility, Gloucestershire will also be using anaerobic digestion to treat food waste and recycling more. This all takes us a huge step closer."

– Cllr Ray Theodoulou, Gloucestershire County Council


Sir David Attenborough opens new Life Sciences building at Bristol University

Sir David Attenborough opens Bristol University's new Life Sciences building Credit: ITV News

Sir David Attenborough has been in Bristol to open the university's new sixty million pound research and teaching centre.

Researchers at the Life Sciences building will study plants, animal behaviour and evolution.

In a speech to over 200 guests, staff and students, Sir Attenborough said: “We in Britain have been leaders in understanding the Life Sciences and you will be the leaders of tomorrow.

“Nothing could be more important in the area of scholarship than this. Understanding the natural sciences and the processes that brought us here – these things bring joy and resonance and happiness to our lives.

“This great building will give you and its graduates pleasure for the rest of your lives. It will play an important role in tackling the great problems and difficulties that the world is going to face in your generation.”