20 Jan 2004
(Source: Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council)
Next attempts to contact Beagle 2 planned for 24th and 25th January January 20, 2004
The Beagle 2 team has revised its plans for trying to communicate with the lander, postponing the date for the end of radio silence by two days.
The Team has made the following announcement regarding the strategy for communication with Beagle 2 over the next 5 days: "On 12 January we started a period when no attempts were made to contact Beagle 2. Maintaining radio silence for a period of ten days is intended to force Beagle 2 into a communication mode that should ensure that the transmitter is switched on for the majority of the daytime on Mars and thus will improve the chance of Mars Express making contact.
"During this ten-day period, Mars Express has listened for Beagle 2 but only for very short periods when Beagle 2 may not be switched on.
"The ten-day radio silence period ends on 22 January, just before a fly-over by Mars Express, but the strategy of the team is not to hail the lander immediately. Rather we are erring on the side of caution as we cannot confidently predict the precise ending of the ten-day slot. This is because the absolute accuracy of the timer on Beagle 2 could have been affected by the temperature on Mars, making the clock run slightly faster or slower than predicted. We have therefore chosen a pair of opportunities when Mars Express flies over the Beagle 2 landing site, the nights of 24 and 25 January. These two flights cover the widest possible area where Beagle 2 should be, giving us the best chance of calling the lander and getting a response from the continuous transmission. There are several other chances of just listening for Beagle 2 without calling it.
"The data will be analysed, this can take many hours, and we intend to present a complete picture of this series of attempts to contact the lander on 26 January, early afternoon. We will, at that time, outline any future communications strategy."
The results from future communication attempts will be posted on the Beagle 2 and PPARC websites.