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Beagle 2 should never have been approved to go to Mars.
Beagle 2 should never have been approved to go to Mars according to an official report from the ESA/UK Commission of Inquiry. The under funded mission was developed on a shoestring, and lacked adequate time for testing. Mission managers treated it like another scientific instrument on board Mars Express, and this fundamental error led to many subsequent problems. Beagle 2 disappeared after entering the Martian atmosphere in December 2003, and controllers still have no definitive answer for what actually caused its failure.
International Launch Services (ILS) oversaw the launch of two rockets today, in different parts of the world. A Russian-built Proton/Breeze M rocket lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, carrying the AMC-12 satellite for SES AMERICOM, which will provide broadcast service to the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. At Florida's Cape Canaveral, an Atlas III lifted off with a classified payload for the US National Reconnaissance Office. The two launches occurred less than 10 hours apart.
Wallpaper: V838 Monocerotis - The Hubble Space Telescope's latest image of the star V838 Monocerotis (V838 Mon) reveals dramatic changes in the illumination of surrounding dusty cloud structures. The effect, called a light echo, has been unveiling never-before-seen dust patterns ever since the star suddenly brightened for several weeks in early 2002.
The illumination of interstellar dust comes from the red supergiant star at the middle of the image, which gave off a pulse of light three years ago, somewhat similar to setting off a flashbulb in a darkened room. The dust surrounding V838 Mon may have been ejected from the star during a previous explosion, similar to the 2002 event.
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