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Bruce Moomaw

Colin Pillinger is either a fraud or nutttier than a $25 fruitcake -- or both. Does he seriously think that the MSL -- for no reason -- would (A) carry an entire separate stationary "Beagle" package to Mars and (B) spend its time carrying samples BACK to it, instead of (at most) carrying copies of Beagle's more valuable science instruments along with it?

What I've said before remains true: this man is the Ahmad Chalabi of planetary exploration.

Alex R. Blackwell

Well, Mark Sims is a first-rate guy, and very friendly, too. And though Pillinger could reasonably be called an eccentric, I'm not willing to label him a fraud or even a nut.

That said, I agree that his Beagle-on-MSL idea is a complete non-starter, and not just due to his "unique" personality. At any rate, this entire Beagle 2 issue is, in my opinion, starting to take on the characteristics of "A Mad Tea-Party" from Alice in Wonderland complete with its own version of the March Hare and the Hatter.

Bruce Moomaw

Well, YOU can say that, Alex. He didn't call YOU two nights in a row at 3 AM Pacific time to bitch about Jeffrey Bell's SpaceDaily article on him...

Actually, a more appropriate Lewis Carroll passage to describe Pillinger might be the scene in "Through the Looking Glass" in which the White King tells Alice, "There's nothing like eating hay when you're faint." When Alice questions this, the King snaps, "I didn't say there was nothing better. I said there was nothing LIKE it." Now substitute Pillinger for the King and Beagle for the hay...

Matt


Essentially: You've done the cheap seats reportage better than I could, and stirred the debate, so Cheers. Trackback and HTML comments absent from this blog, so refer to posts in Loop2.

Oliver Morton

Trackbacks now fixed

Alex R. Blackwell

Mars Global Surveyor
Mars Orbiter Camera
The MGS MOC Search for Beagle 2
MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-835, 31 August 2004
https://www.msss.com/mars_images/moc/2004/08/31/index.html

Jeffrey F. Bell

This whole debate about specific technical reasons that Beagle-2 might have failed is pointless. Just like several ultra-cheap Dan Goldin missions (e.g. DS-2), there were so many omissions of critical tests that many failure modes are possible. And with the complete lack of telemetry, there is no way for any failure board to choose between them. The reason the mission failed is that Colin Pillinger and his fellow Beagle cultists ignored the whole science of mission cost estimation. I was in charge of designing a Mars mission once, and when the computer cost model showed that we over the official cost cap, the project was stopped. Pillinger chose to press on regardless with a budget that was hopelessly inadequate, and is reaping the just rewards of his folly.

Steven Alan

Judging from the latest images of the landing site, I would say there was a pretty good chance it hit something nasty when it landed.

Alex R. Blackwell

There's also "a pretty good chance it hit something nasty when it [crashed]," assuming, of course, that it survived the entry and descent phase.

Bruce Moomaw

Well, if one acquaitance of mine is telling the truth (and I have no reason to think he's lying), Pillinger solenmnly told one TV interviewer before the launch that -- in spite of the fact that they had built Beagle 2 on a shoestring -- "We'll succeed because we're British." If true, this reinforces another comment by a noted Britisher, namely Robert Morley: "England breeds such lovely cranks." (Of course, as a Californian, I may be in no position to throw stones..)

Oliver Morton

On the DS-2 front, someone told me a little while ago that some models of the soil-bound-ice interpretation of the neutron data suggest that the soil could have been throughly enough frozen to kill the probes even if they had performed to spec, since their design assumed a looser regolith. No idea if a) this is true or b) the hard ice models are actually right, but it struck me as interesting. I guess Phoenix should shed some light on that.

Alex R. Blackwell

NASA rules out Beagle resurrection
By Lucy Sherriff
The Register
Published Friday 1st October 2004 16:27 GMT
https://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/10/01/nasa_cans_beagle/

Alex R. Blackwell

'Money woes' foiled Beagle 2 shot
BBC News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 November, 2004, 00:09 GMT
https://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3972849.stm

Alex R. Blackwell

Scientists lift veil on Beagle 3
By Paul Rincon
BBC News science reporter
Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 November, 2004, 18:00 GMT
https://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3977967.stm

Siske

I love this post Sam! Especially your grid for near term and long term goals. I don't think about goals very much. For being a total control freak (which I am), I am not much of a furtue planner. I hope Ryan gets a call from the Yankees someday, too!

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