Scientific objectives of the Beagle 2 lander

Wright, I.P.; Sims, M.R. and Pillinger, C.T. (2003). Scientific objectives of the Beagle 2 lander. Acta Astronautica, 52(2-6) pp. 219–225.



Beagle 2 is the name given to the lander part of the ESA Mars Express mission (launch 2003). The main focus of Beagle 2 is to establish whether there is convincing evidence for past life on Mars, or to assess if the conditions were ever suitable. Beagle 2 also plans a globally responsive test to see if there is any present-day biological activity on Mars. To achieve these objectives, the 29 kg payload mass of Beagle 2 includes 7 kg of scientific instruments, including: Gas Analysis Package (GAP), Mössbauer and X-ray Spectrometers, Environmental Sensors, Panoramic and Wide Angle Cameras and a Microscope. Surface and sub-surface soils will be collected by a device called the Mole, whilst instruments can be placed by a robotic arm onto appropriate rock surfaces freed of weathering products by a grinder Cored specimens from the interiors of the rocks can be studied by the GAP. The overall Beagle 2 investigations are expected to last 180 sols, although extended mission scenarios are also being considered.

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