December 27th, 2003, 17:09 PM
New try to pick up Europe’s Mars lander fails
LONDON - Scientists again failed Saturday to pick up a signal that would confirm Europe’s first Mars lander arrived safely on the Red Planet.
A third attempt by NASA’s orbiting Mars Odyssey — at about 1:15 a.m. EST — made no contact with the Beagle 2, which was supposed to have landed at 9:45 p.m. EST Wednesday.
The tiny craft should have started emitting its signal within a few hours. Britain’s Jodrell Bank Observatory, which has twice scanned the Martian surface with its huge radio telescope, also could not detect a signal from the tiny lander, which was sent to Mars to search for signs of life.
Chief Beagle scientist Professor Colin Pillinger has kept an optimistic stance in the face of headlines like the one from the Daily Star newspaper, “The Beagle is Stranded.”