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The European Space Agency has launched an inquiry into the (sadly) failed Beagle 2 lander. Working in conjunction with the British Government, the ESA said that the inquiry will shed light on the craft’s inability to communicate with the mothership since it set off on its own for Mars.

Lord Sainsbury, science and innovation minister, said that future teams could benefit from whateverlessons are learned, a clear indication that the European Space programme is not hanging up its moonboots.

The investigative team, which will have had no direct involvement in the project, is asked to identify any 'issues or shortcomings' that could have contributed to the Beagle’s lack of bark. It will look at the development material, the data generated during the integration of the Beagle 2 lander on Earth and that generated just prior to release of the spacecraft to Mars.

The inquiry has been welcomed by everyone involved in the project and will follow normal ESA procedures. The team will report to Lord Sainsbury as well as the ESA’s director general as the inquiry is into a British-built lander.

It is expected to conclude its report by the end of March. ®

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