Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Saturday, 17 January 2015
The Beagle has landed
So, Beagle 2 did land safely on Mars on Christmas Day, 12 years ago. Colin Pillinger died a couple of months ago - what a bloody shame he did not live to hear what he had always insisted - that his little Beagle had never crashed at all, but was - for some reason - just not sending out any signals.
H.I. and me spent ages willing the thing on through space, and I developed a little arm-movement which needed no words - like some sort of a cross between a bird and a boat, bravely batting its way onward through the darkness.
Professor Pillinger was wonderful in the way he stifled his own emotions as he went around the UK control centre, consoling tearful scientists who thought they had witnessed almost a life's work crash into a distant and hostile planet, never to be seen or heard of again. We had to struggle to hold back a tear at the news as well.
I wonder how far away the Rover is to the Beagle? Maybe they could send it on a mission, and when it gets within arms-reach of it, they could press a 'give it a kick' command button down here, then a few hours later, a robotic boot would extend and - in time honoured automobile fashion - knock the thing back into life?
There was an interview the other day with an American child whose sole ambition in life is to fly to Mars. She sounded about 8 years old and she had the backing - not to say pushing - of her ambitious father, who has already sent her on astronaut training courses in the same way that some parents send their children to riding schools or piano lessons. If all goes according to plan, by the time she is old enough to vote, they might have the technology to send humans on inter-plantary travel.
She could walk up to it and unfurl the couple of solar panels which failed to open, or just give it a kick like any man would do, but most women do not understand why.
" BEEP - This is Houston. Give it a kick." "BEEP - Why do you men always have to kick things?" "BEEP - Trust us. Just kick it."