Beagle 2 Microscope Site
Mars Express is the first European Space Agency mission to the planet,
Mars. It comprises an orbiter (with a suite of remote sensing and in situ
instruments) and a lander package called
Beagle 2 which is considered by
ESA to be a PI instrument. Mars Express will be launched in June 2003 and
will reach Mars in December 2003.
The Beagle 2 lander package is part of the European Space Agency’s Mars
Express mission. Beagle 2 is scheduled to separate from Mars Express, 5
days before the spacecraft reaches Mars. The lander will use aero-braking
using an aeroshell to slow the lander down before a parachute is deployed
and the aeroshell is ejected. Shortly before touchdown, a set of airbags
will inflate, the parachute will be cut, and Beagle 2 will bounce onto
the surface. The landing is scheduled to occur on December 25th, 2003.
The lander will weigh 60 kg including all landing attachments. The mass
of the lander on the surface will be 32 kg.
The principal investigator of Beagle 2 is Prof. C.T. Pillinger
Sciences Research Institute of the Open University, Milton Keynes,
Great Britain. The mission manager is Mark Sims of the
of Leicester. The instrument system manager is Derek Pullan. The development
of the lander is being performed by Astrium. The Beagle 2 Lander Operations
Centre may be located at the
Space Science Centre.
Beagle 2 Instruments
The Beagle 2 lander has a series of instruments designed to analyze the
surface composition and structure as shown in the table. The package comprises
a series of experiments including a microscope. The microscope will be
used to investigate in detail the structure of rocks and soils on the surface
||Mass allowance [kg]
||Mullard Space Science Lab.
||University of Leicester
Beagle 2 has a robotic arm which has 5 degrees of freedom and hence
has a great deal of flexibility. The present concept is that at the end
of the arm there will be a flat plate (called the “Paw”) which will carry
a grinder, a corer, an X-ray spectrometer (XRS), a Mössbauer spectrometer,
and a microscope. The panoramic camera will be mounted higher up the arm.
The interface engineer for the Paw is Shaun Whitehead.