Time and money crunches doomed Beagle 2

Time and money pressures, along with management lapses, proved a fatal combination for the Beagle 2 spaceprobe that aimed to land on Mars, an official inquiry has concluded. The British-built lander has been completely silent since it was released from its mothership, Mars Express, on 19 December 2003. On Monday, the British National Space Centre and the European Space Agency released a summary of 19 lessons learned from the failed mission. The complete report, which will not be made public, follows a three-month investigation by unnamed space experts from Europe, Russia, and NASA.

Ironically, Beagle 2's ambitious scientific goals - to search directly for signs of Martian life - may have played a role in the mission's undoing. The summary states: "the very high potential scientific benefits of the project may have contributed to a collective institutional underestimate by us all of [how] to identify and mitigate the risks [resulting from] the very tight financial, mass and schedule constraints".

News source: New Scientist

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