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We have since learned that Beagle 2 failed to operate successfully, potentially because its solar panels didn't open properly.

Now, a collaboration between De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) and the University of Leicester has used 3D modelling technology to reveal for the first time that Beagle 2 did not crash land as previously thought.

Instead analysis by DMU’s visualisation specialist Teodora Kuzmanova found Beagle 2 deployed at least three of the solar panels it was supposed to after touching down on the planet’s surface.

It may be that the antenna may have been transmitting as planned - but the signal could not get through because the fourth panel had not opened properly.

Assuming the faulty panel was the sole malfunction and the rest of the Beagle was otherwise intact, and assuming the Perseverance Rover (or something similar) could get to the Beagle, is it possible that it would start to operate correctly if the errant solar panel was prodded open?

Or are there now other factors that would prevent it from working, such as depleted fuel resources or consumables?

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    $\begingroup$ Send me there with a roll of duct tape and a can of WD-40 and I'll see what I can do. 😁 $\endgroup$ May 22 at 12:35
  • $\begingroup$ @EscapedLunatic - And some liquid air to blow the dust off the panels $\endgroup$
    – Richard
    May 22 at 14:21
  • $\begingroup$ @EscapedLunatic this comment matches Your username too damn perfectly! $\endgroup$
    – Vorac
    May 25 at 18:08

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Maybe possible, but profoundly pointless.

  1. All landing missions on Mars are planned away from each other. This is done in order to get information from diverse places and to avoid skewing the information by artifacts from another mission.

Up to now, there is no machine on Mars capable of travelling to an area where some other mission landed and operated.

Mars is small, but it is not that much small. It is more like Earth surface area without the oceans. This is a lot of place to scatter only a few missions.

  1. The conditions on Mars are harsh. All the gear sent there operates for few years at most while the control teams constantly consider and mitigate their degradation. Beagle is there for 20 years.

20 years of extreme temperatures, temperature changes, dust storms and unfiltered solar radiation. You can bet it is worn out or broken in one way or another.

Its planned mission duration was 6 months. A lot of later Mars missions outlived their planned life, but none of them by a factor of 40. Or even 20. Or even 10.

They made it work for 6 months and the estimate was made with the much sparser knowledge of how to make machines working on Mars we had 20+ years ago.

In no particular order: The battery is dead. It is not trivial to find a battery working for 20 years even for the conditions here on Earth. Solar panels are scratched into oblivion by the dust storms. Any plastic parts, including electronic chips, seals and gaskets, have lost long ago their plasticisers, converting themselves into dust. Whatever moving parts existed there are long ago stuck for good.

  1. It is 20+ years obsolete. Whatever we could expect to learn by operating it is already known by other means. Going there to fix it would be expensive as hell for no particular scientific gain.

If we get the budget for going there, we could simply send something new that carries instruments for discovering now-unknown things.

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    $\begingroup$ Can you elaborate on "You can bet it is worn out or broken in one way or another"? Is that just your opinion or is there a specific thing/s that's likely to be broken or worn out? $\endgroup$
    – Richard
    Apr 29 at 23:06
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    $\begingroup$ Its planned mission duration was 6 months. A lot of later Mars missions outlived their planned life, but none of them by a factor of 40. Or even 20. Or even 10. They made it work for 6 months and the estimate was made with the much sparser knowledge of how to make machines working on Mars we had 20+ years ago. In no particular order: The battery is dead. Solar panels are scratched into oblivion. Any plastic parts, including electronic chips, seals and gaskets, have lost long ago their plasticisers, converting themselves into dust. Whatever moving parts existed there are long ago stuck for good $\endgroup$
    – fraxinus
    Apr 29 at 23:16
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    $\begingroup$ @fraxinus I completely concur, just wanted to mention that Oppy lasted 57 times its planned life :) $\endgroup$
    – 0xDBFB7
    Apr 30 at 4:18
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    $\begingroup$ Anything on Mars that can't keep itself warm on the winter nights dies. $\endgroup$ Apr 30 at 22:31

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