Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Dr Pillinger wrong again?

A while ago I wrote about a site where the Beagle 2 team thinks their spacecraft crashed. It was a tiny, dark spot (about 20 meters in diameter) visible in Mars Global Surveyor MOC images on the flank of a large crater (a little under 2 kilometers in diameter). The MOC team had already dismissed the spot as a possible Beagle 2 crash site, having determined that it was a small, eroded impact crater, but the Beagle 2 team published an analysis indicating what they thought were parts of their spacecraft, including its deployed airbags.

Well, HiRISE has now taken a look at the site, and it doesn't look like Beagle 2 is in there. Here is a montage of the two MOC images of the site with the new HiRISE picture. The one on the left is the initial image that was thought to be a splotch caused by the Beagle 2 crash; the center one is the one interpreted by the MOC team to prove that the spot was not a crash site, but was instead a small, eroded impact crater; and the one on the right is the HiRISE image, which indeed shows a small, eroded impact crater with no obvious sign of spacecraft hardware.

Outright stolen from The Planetary Society Weblog.


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