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Space Science

Construction Begins on Beagle 2 171

Bonker writes "CNN reports that Beagle 2, a lander that's part of ESA's next Mars mission, is beginning construction in England. The lander will be constructed in clean-room conditions to avoid being contaminated with any kind of terrestrial life so that it can more accurately determine if there is or was any kind of martian life once it arrives."
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Construction Begins on Beagle 2

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  • Darwin (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 07, 2002 @06:49AM (#4024017)
    By all means, do read Darwin's "The Voyage of the Beagle". Excellent reading.

    Gutenbeerg project text97/vb gle10.txt
  • Re:Contamination (Score:2, Informative)

    by corleth ( 118672 ) on Wednesday August 07, 2002 @07:00AM (#4024044)
    Who's they? This is the first UK mission to Mars and we stick to metric in science. The main worry is the launch system, as the last European Mars mission to be launched by Russia didn't make it outside of our atmosphere. :(
  • Website (Score:5, Informative)

    by corleth ( 118672 ) on Wednesday August 07, 2002 @07:03AM (#4024051)
    I just wanted to put in a quick advert for the Beagle 2 website at Many of your questions can be answered there.


    Dr Karl Mitchell
    Planetary Science Research Group
    Environmental Science Dept.
    Lancaster University, UK
  • Clean room launch... (Score:2, Informative)

    by MosesJones ( 55544 ) on Wednesday August 07, 2002 @07:09AM (#4024062) Homepage
    Now I may be as thick as a whale omelet, BUT how will they transport it to the rocket and then launch it and ensure that everything else is clean room ? The Rocket will have to remain sterile inside, the transport to the rocket will have to be sterile.

    Surely there is a risk of contamination at lots of these phases ? Especially shifting it from the lab, into transport and transport into rocket.

    I'm sure they can do it to a high degree of probability, but how can they do it with even 99.999% certainty
  • by Soft ( 266615 ) on Wednesday August 07, 2002 @07:09AM (#4024064)
    Research and science receive only a very small part of our national budget. Looking at our national (Dutch) budget and the EU one, I can easily point out loads of stupid and/or wasteful things we are spending tax Euro's on, Euro's that would be much better spent on scientific research.

    I fully agree with this. The original poster (excluding a troll) may be mistaking this mission with the whole man-in-space mumbo-jumbo (I'm all for colonizing space, but not the ISS-billion-government-dollar way). However:

    do what you are good at, and buy what others are better at. Rather than design their own rocket to get something into space (like the Ariadne), Europe could just use existing and superior Russian Proton rockets or even a Shuttle. The money saved can go towards research in areas that we excel in (don't ask me which those areas are).

    We excel in rocket science. Serious. The Ariane 5 can launch 6 tons in GTO, and the next version due this fall can do 8. Proton cannot do that AFAIK and using the horrendously exepnsive Shuttle to save money would be ludicrous at best. The next Atlas 5 and Delta 4 will match this kind of performance and are possibly easier to scale up, but are not there yet.

  • by SweetCyanide ( 205542 ) on Wednesday August 07, 2002 @08:32AM (#4024224)
    Firstly is wasn't collected from mars, the rock fell to earth and is believed to be from mars..

    Secondly, it didn't contain bacteria, but what is claimed to be fossilised evidence of bacteria.

    Thirdly, the evidence is merely suggestive, but far from incontravertable, of alien life.
  • clickable link (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 07, 2002 @08:34AM (#4024230)
    Clickable link []
  • French illusions (Score:3, Informative)

    by uradu ( 10768 ) on Wednesday August 07, 2002 @10:02AM (#4024728)
    > France alone is responsible for roughly half the ESA budget.

    Ok, let's kill this particular French wet dream in the bud. It might make for a great sheep-counting alternative at night, but is far from based on reality.

    CNES figures on a horrible chart: sa.htm

    ESA figures: l00/C1Fina n.pdf

    Roughly half? Hmm...
  • Re:Correction please (Score:2, Informative)

    by corleth ( 118672 ) on Wednesday August 07, 2002 @12:36PM (#4025656)
    UK = The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It is not a country, it is a union of countries under one government.

    Great Britain = England + Scotland + Wales (+ Isle of Man and some other islands I think). Again, not a real country. Mostly used for historical/patriotic reasons.

    A bit of a nightmare, I know. Personally I'd prefer it to be simpler. When we travel to the US we have to put "UK" or "United Kingdom" on our entry cards as our country of origin or we get turned away. Apparently Great Britain, England, Scotland, Wales, etc., don't count as countries, even though the UK is not actually a country.

    -Karl (from England, GB, UK, EU, Earth, etc.)

Heuristics are bug ridden by definition. If they didn't have bugs, then they'd be algorithms.