Mars Curiosity Panoramic


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Colin Pillinger, leader of the Beagle 2 project, reacted emotionally to the large number of technicians monitoring Curiosity's descent, because Beagle 2 had only four people monitoring it. [138] The Beagle 2 team made a virtue out of necessity; it was known that there was no chance of obtaining funds in Europe, at that time, of the scale previously considered necessary for a Mars rover, so the team used innovative methods to reduce the cost to less than 4% of the cost of the Curiosity mission. They also had only one shot, with no funding for repeat missions (it was named Beagle 2 as a successor to HMS Beagle, not to an earlier rover). [138] It was considered a large risk, and although Beagle 2 did successfully survive its entry, descent, and landing, incomplete deployment of the solar panels hampered communication back to Earth. [139] The team has proposed that a future launch might take multiple low-cost Beagle-type landers, with a realistic expectation that the vast majority would be successful, allowing exploration of several locations on Mars and possibly asteroids, all for considerably less cost than a single "normal" rover expedition. [140]