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British Scientists: No Signal Yet from Beagle 2 - 2003-12-25

British scientists have failed to pick up a signal from the Beagle-2 space probe, which was scheduled to touch down on the surface of Mars today. The fate of the Mars lander is unknown.

Scientists gathered in north London were disheartened, when no signal from the Beagle-2 was picked up by NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter, which flew above the landing site.

But lead scientist Professor Colin Pillinger says all hope is not lost. "I am afraid it is a bit disappointing, but it is not the end of the world," he says. "Please do not go away from here believing that we have lost this spacecraft, because we never tested the Odyssey link on the ground, because we had not the time before Odyssey was launched. And we still have 14 contacts programmed into our computer, and we can continue to look for Beagle that way."

Scientists say there could be many reasons for the lack of contact. For instance, it could take time for the solar panels to deploy and recharge the batteries for data transmission.