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Sunday, June 2, 2002

ESA Test

(Yahoo) - British researchers have recreated the hostile Martian atmosphere in a box the size of a desktop computer, in order to help test equipment for an upcoming mission to the red planet. Scientists from Leicester University have reproduced the low temperature, pressure, and unbreathable atmosphere found on the planet to put the Beagle 2 landing craft through its paces before it leaves to search for signs of life on Mars next May.

"We are emulating the environmental conditions on Mars," Derek Pullan, Instrument Manager for the Beagle 2 project, told Reuters on Thursday. "It is important to test the instruments and see if they can accurately function on the surface."

"The primary objective of the mission is to look for life," Pullan said. "We will be able to detect extinct or current life forms...[Based on the Mars Odyssey data that found large amounts of sub-suface water on Mars, i]t looks as though our landing site could be right on a pocket of sub-surface water."

(More info: Yahoo)

- posted by Brian @ 12:01 EST