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Colin Pillinger


Most of you will know about the Beagle 2 lander, which accompanied the Mars Express spacecraft to Mars, but unfortunately crashed upon landing. You'll also probably have heard of Colin Pillinger, the person who pushed the project through despite many obstacles. In 'Beagle' , written before the crash landing, he explains the motivations for the project - why he felt it had to take place. The work has a 'coffee table book' format - its got lots of pictures and plenty of interesting anecdotes. It would be a pity if the failure of the Beagle lander meant that this book didn't get read.

The book looks at the planning and development the Beagle 2 lander but there is much more than just that. There's a long chapter on the question of life on Mars, looking at earlier missions, the ALH 84001 meteorite, and plenty of science fiction. Other chapters have comparisons with the ship which carried Darwin (as well as other ships with the name Beagle) - it has to be said that some of these comparisons are a bit strained, but its all in good fun. There are also quite a few pictures from 'The ship that sailed to Mars' by William Timlin.

Product Description
Britain is going to Mars. Beagle 2 - a space lander shaped like a clam and no larger than a portable barbecue - is about to make history. Named after HMS Beagle, the ship in which Charles Darwin travelled around the world, Beagle 2 has hitched a ride aboard the European Space Agency Mars Express. On reaching the red planet, this tiny British space probe is designed to answer one big question: is there, or was there, life on Mars? In 'Beagle', Colin Pillinger explores the remarkable similarities between these two historic ships, the sailing ship and the spaceship, and their great voyages of exploration. Both were at the forefront of technology for their respective generations. HMS Beagle led to the discovery of the secret of life on Earth - can Beagle 2 possibly do the same for Mars?