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31 Dec 2003: Beagle 2- communication attempts continue

Status Report From: Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council
Posted: Wednesday, December 31, 2003

The eighth attempt by NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter to communicate with Beagle 2 was made this morning, but no data were received. This was the eleventh programmed contact period, including three communication opportunities with Jodrell Bank radio observatory, since Beagle 2 landed on 25 December.

News on the outcome of today's communication attempt via Mars Odyssey was delayed for several hours because NASA's Deep Space Network is also being used for the Mars Exploration Rover and Stardust missions, which will be reaching their climax in the next few days.

As from last night, Beagle 2 should have switched to an emergency mode known as 'communication search mode 1' (CSM 1). When the lander switches to CSM 1, it attempts to communicate twice every Martian day (sol), during the best daytime and best night-time pass by an available orbiter.

Meanwhile, ESA's Mars Express orbiter was successfully inserted into a polar orbit around the Red Planet yesterday morning. This manoeuvre means that Mars Express will be ideally placed to communicate with Beagle 2 when it passes over the landing site in Isidis Planitia in a few days' time.

An updated list of future opportunities to communicate with Beagle 2, including pre-programmed sessions with Mars Express, is posted on the Beagle 2 Web site.

The next Beagle 2 press briefing is scheduled to take place at the Media Centre in Camden on Sunday 4 January. Details will be confirmed on the Web sites at a later date.

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