Missing Beagle 2 spacecraft located on surface of Mars

The British Beagle 2 spacecraft landed successfully on Mars' surface, David Parker, the chief executive of the UK Space Agency has confirmed.

The probe was thought lost after attempting a Christmas Day landing on the planet in 2003.

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Damien Hirst 'can't believe' he has a painting on Mars

Artist Damien Hirst has shared his delight at hearing the Beagle 2 has been found and said he "can't believe" that the painting he had on board the missing spacecraft is now residing on Mars.

Damien Hirst Credit: Lewis Whyld/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Hirst tweeted: "I have a painting on Mars! It's amazing!"


Twitter users pay tribute to 'inspiring' space mission

Twitter users have paid tribute to an "inspiring" space mission that showed the world "anything is possible":

Beagle 2 scientist 'would have been pleased to defy critics'

Colin Pillinger died in 2014 Credit: PA Wire

The daughter of the space scientist behind the Beagle 2 project has said her late father would have been pleased to "defy the critics who wanted to say that Beagle 2 is a failure".

Professor Colin Pillinger's daughter Shusanah said: "He would have loved that this shows Beagle 2 landed on Mars, it got all the way through the entry and descend and the processes. It unravelled some of its solar panels.

"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."

Adding that his death last year had been tough for her family, she said: "We are trying to carry on what dad would have wanted. He was someone who wanted science to be communicated to everybody. We want everybody to be aware of Beagle 2, to be inspired by it.

"But there is a tinge of sadness that he can't be here. You can see that in the room where all his colleagues, all the people he worked with, everybody is gutted he cannot be here."


Beagle 2 located three miles from intended landing site

Beagle 2 was located just three miles from its intended landing site.

Dr John Bridges, of the University of Leicester, said NASA's Mars Orbiter spotted the lander from 185 miles above Mars.

It found three objects, believed to be the lander and its landing equipment.

They "glinted" in the sun but cast no shadow, Dr Bridges said, adding: "This is not just a pile of rocks and sand on the Martian surface. This is an alien object, a man-made object."

Professor Mark Sims, from the University of Leicester, said analysis showed the craft ran into problems in the final phase of deployment.

"The highly-complex entry, descent and landing sequence seems to have worked perfectly and only during the final phases of deployment did Beagle 2 unfortunately run into problems," he said.

Beagle 2 professor: UK can and will go back to Mars

A professor who worked on the Beagle 2 project has hailed its success and said the UK will go back to Mars.

Professor Mark Sims, from the University of Leicester's Space Research Project, said they will do further analysis of the images of Beagle 2.

He said the first photo of the probe came in in 2013 and further pictures last year, when the team "started to get quite excited".

"This is not the end of the story. We will do more imaging and analysis," Prof Sims said.

He added: "Personally I would say Beagle 2 was a great success. The UK can and will go back to Mars."

Tributes paid to Beagle 2 scientist Colin Pilinger

Colin Pillinger Credit: PA Wire

Colleagues today paid tribute to the space scientist best known for Beagle 2, Professor Colin Pillinger.

Prof Pilinger died last year after suffering a brain haemorrhage at his home in Cambridge.

Today, Professor Mark Sims, of the University of Leicester, said he was 'elated' they now knew Beagle2 had landed but 'tinged with sadness' Prof Pillinger would never know.

UK Space Agency chief executive David Parker said: "We have many things to thank Colin Pillinger for. "Beagle 2 was much more of a success than we previously knew. The history books need to be slightly rewritten to say that Beagle 2 did land on Christmas Day 2003.

"Colin would be putting in his grant application to go,and fix it."

Professor: Beagle 2 was 'way ahead of its time'

The University of Leicester's Professor Mark Sims has said Beagle 2 was "way ahead of its time" when it was launched and expressed his sadness that the missing probe was not found until after its creator's death.

As experts revealed today that they believe they have finally found the Beagle 2, which has been missing since 2003, Professor Sims explained how scientists found the lost spacecraft nearly 12 years after it went missing:

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