Skip to content
Skip to main content

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.

This page was published over 17 years ago. Please be aware that due to the passage of time, the information provided on this page may be out of date or otherwise inaccurate, and any views or opinions expressed may no longer be relevant. Some technical elements such as audio-visual and interactive media may no longer work. For more detail, see how we deal with older content.

The cleanroom

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.


Become an OU student

Ratings & Comments

Share this free course

Copyright information

Skip Rate and Review

For further information, take a look at our frequently asked questions which may give you the support you need.

Have a question?