Beagle 2 Mars Lander: How It Was Lost and Found on Red Planet (Infographic)

Beagle 2, an ESA Mars probe lost after landing.
Beagle 2 fell silent after touching down on Mars in 2003. (Image credit: By Karl Tate, Infographics Artist)

After landing on Dec. 25, 2003, the ESA's Beagle 2 spacecraft didn't phone home. Its fate remained a mystery until Jan. 16, 2015, when the ESA announced the probe had been found in photos taken by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Full Story: UK's Lost Beagle 2 Mars Lander, Missing Since 2003, Found in NASA Photos

Beagle 2 landed in Isidis Planitia, a basin near the equator of Mars. Photos taken from orbit show that only two or three of the lander's four solar panels appear to have deployed. The tiny 3-foot (1 meter) spacecraft's post-landing software began executing but it is not known why it stopped. Because of the partial deployment of the robot's mechanisms, its radio transmitter was blocked from contacting Earth.

UK's Beagle 2 Mars Lander Mission in Photos

On April 26, 2016, scientists with the University College London's Mullard Space Science Laboratory revealed that new images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which they billed as the sharpest views of Mars ever, revealed even better views of Beagle 2 on the surface of the Red Planet. 

Supersharp Mars Photos Show UK's Long-Lost Beagle 2 Lander

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Karl Tate contributor

Karl's association with goes back to 2000, when he was hired to produce interactive Flash graphics. From 2010 to 2016, Karl worked as an infographics specialist across all editorial properties of Purch (formerly known as TechMediaNetwork).  Before joining, Karl spent 11 years at the New York headquarters of The Associated Press, creating news graphics for use around the world in newspapers and on the web.  He has a degree in graphic design from Louisiana State University and now works as a freelance graphic designer in New York City.