This time of year, I usually wind things down at Universe Today since the various news sources are all on holiday and there isn’t much to report. This year; however, it’s an entirely different story. The British-built Beagle 2 lander will be touching down on Mars on December 25. Stardust reaches Comet Wild 2 on January 2, and the Mars Exploration Rover arrives on January 3. Things couldn’t be busier.
So, first up… Beagle 2 and Mars Express. The lander is expected to arrive at 0254 UTC on December 25 (9:54 pm EST December 24). We won’t know if Beagle 2 arrived safely for another four hours or so, when Mars Express enters orbit – data won’t arrive back on Earth until 0700 UTC (2:00am EST). Keep your fingers crossed.
The European Space Agency has said they’ll be broadcasting information about the landing live on television, but I haven’t been able to find a link on the web for it (if you know of one, let me know). You can visit their special coverage of the landing and Mars Express arrival here. Or go straight to the Beagle 2 website, where they’ll just be focused on the lander. As I find cool stuff on the web, I’ll let you know.
And make sure you come visit the Universe Today forum and share your thoughts and ideas about the missions with the rest of our community.
Have a happy and safe holiday. See you on Mars!