Life on Mars?

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I'm quite certain a lot of folks have wondered about it before. After all, it's not the first time humankind has send probes to Mars in an attempt to find out more about the mysterious planet.

Only days ago a proble called Beagle 2 reached Mars after travelling towards it for 205 days and covering a distance of approximately 400 million kilometres. After successfully orbitting around the planet, Beagle II was scheduled to touch down on Martian soil a few hours later, but so far NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter, has not been able to get in touch with the Beagle 2 probe.

On December 26th, the 76-metre radio telescope dish at Jodrell Bank Observatory, UK, tried to detect the 5 Watt signal from more than 157 million kilometres away, again without success. Later on during the day contact will be attempted again through the Mars Oddessey orbiter, followed by attempts by the large UK dish. If all that fails, the Stanford University radio telescope will also join in the effort on December 28th.

In the first week of January, Mars Express will fly over the landingsite of Beagle II and try to contact the probe. While this seemingky means we have enough backup plans in case we can't get in touch, it turns out that only Mars Express was been tested and designed to transmit and receive signals from Beagle II.

Earlier on, there have been numerous attempts to land on Mars, let's take a look at some data :

In 1975, a US mission referred to as "Viking 2" was launched and a probe landed on Mars. It remained there from september '76 till 1980. The USSR lost "Phobos 1" en route to Mars in august '88, and "Phobos 2" bit the bullet in March '89 near Phobos. The "Mars Observer" mission, conducted by the U.S. lost their orbiter just before arrival on August 21st, 1993, whereas the orbiter "Mars Global Surveyor" arrived in Martian orbit in september 1997, where is still hangs out.

A wrap up of other missions, conducted after 1993 is as follows :
USSR - Mars '96 (Orbiter and landers) : launch vehicle failed
US - Mars Pathfinder (Lander and Rover) : landed june '97, last transmission september '97
Japan - Nozomi (Planet-B) '98 (Mars orbiter) : currently in orbit around the Sun with Mars arrival delayed to December '03 due to propulsion problem.
US - Mars Climate Orbiter '98 (Orbiter) : lost on arrival at Mars september '99
US - Mars Polar Lander/Deep Space 2 '99 (lander/descent probes to explore Martian south pole) : lost on arrival December '99.
US - Mars Odyssey '01 (Orbiter) : currently conducting prime mission of science mapping (orbiting).

So if we take a closer look at all the data, from 1975 till today, 2 landers/probes made it to the Martian surface successfully, of which one lasted less than 3 months. And now ESA possibly loses Beagle II...

I think we can stop sending landers, orbiters and probes to the Red Planet. If they still don't understand the reason behind this all, let me point out the obvious :

There is life on Mars - and they keep on pressing the OFF button on those landers.

What more proof do you want?!

4 Comments

And here I thought they couldn't get in contact with the BeagleII because they hadn't given it a "stokske" after his walk and he was being stubborn ;-)

You got a point there !! By the way this is an interesting article, as my interest lies in this area. But according to me Nasa is about to discouver a new black hole ! That is why their probes dissappear.

You mean to say that there's a black hole on Mars? If that were true, it would be awfully near us/earth and I think it would have been discovered years ago, don't you think? It would also affect our milkyway in ways that can't be overlooked, so a black hole seems rather impossible to me.

The latest assumption seems to be they parked Beagle 2 right into a crater - I guess the probe didn't see the sign "Warning : Mars crater. No Dogs allowed."

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This page contains a single entry by ServMe published on December 26, 2003 8:36 PM.

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