Inquiry into Beagle 2


  • Judith Jacobs


A commission of inquiry into the failure of the Beagle 2 Mars lander last December, led by the inspector general of the European Space Agency, released its findings on 24 May. Because the inquiry is not considered public, not all of its deliberations were released. However, the commission did release its list of “lessons learned” and recommendations to avoid future failures of this type.

In general, the commission attributed the failure to “a collective institutional underestimate” by the partner institutions “of the corresponding means to identify and mitigate [the] risks” of such a complex venture. More specifically, it referred to the very tight time schedule within which the Mars lander had to be developed, and also to “tight budget constraints.”