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Beagle 2 Microscope Site



Mars Express

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.

Beagle 2

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  of the > Planetary Sciences Research Institute of the Open University, Milton Keynes, Great Britain. The mission manager is Mark Sims of the > University 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 > National 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 of Mars.
Instrument  Responsible Institute Mass allowance [kg]
GAP Open University 3.20
> Microscope MPS 0.25
Panoramic Camera Mullard Space Science Lab. 0.3
Mole DLR, Cologne 0.7
XRS University of Leicester 0.15
Mössbauer TU Darmstadt 0.4
Grinder/Corer DLR, Cologne 0.4

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.

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