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OU on the BBC: Beagle 2: A Mission To Mars: About the programmes

Updated Thursday 27th October 2005

Introducing a documentary that charts the highs and lows encountered by the Open University-led team that worked on the Beagle 2 lander that was built to look for signs of life on Mars.

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Programme 1

 

The Beagle 2 lander was built to look for signs of life on the Red Planet. Hitching a lift on the Mars Express spacecraft launched in June 2003, the space mission was scheduled to arrive about six months later - if all went to plan. But when the module landed, the dreams of the scientists who had devoted five years to Beagle 2 were also be on the line.

This documentary charts the highs and lows encountered by the OU-led team during the project’s formative years. From the technicalities and time constraints surrounding the construction of the lander itself, to the personal dilemmas, funding issues and public relations: this insight into events puts a human face on cutting edge British science.

Programme 2

 

The concluding chapter of the British-led space expedition. The Beagle 2 lander was fully equipped with sophisticated scientific instruments to look for signs of Martian life. But could it even make it aboard the Mars Express, let alone parachute down after a six month voyage to fulfil the visions of its makers?

This documentary charts the trials and tribulations faced by the team in the lead-up to the launch date. Taking a ringside seat, the programme offers a unique perspective on the key players at the forefront of British space science. However circumstances turned out on Mars, there were two major hurdles before Beagle 2 even left the launch pad: whether would be ready on time - and whether the European Space Agency would allow it on board.

 

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