On Christmas Day 2003, an unmanned British space craft called Beagle 2 was due to touch down on Mars and begin searching for evidence of life. The mastermind of the mission, Professor Colin Pillinger, had helped to generate huge public interest in Beagle 2. But the lander failed to communicate and was presumed lost. It was discovered on the surface of Mars in January 2015, less than a year after Professor Pillinger’s death.
Rob Walker has been delving into the BBC’s archives to hear Colin’s Pillinger’s account of the daring mission and has also spoken to his daughter, Shusanah.
(Photo: Lead Scientist, Colin Pillinger, poses with a model of Beagle 2 in November 2003. Credit: Scott Barbour/Getty Images)