I could never…land something on Mars

Beagle 2 was a project to send a lander to Mars with the aim of undertaking geochemical and atmospheric analysis and investigating the possibility of life on the red planet. Beagle 2 was launched as part of the European Space Agency’s Mars Express Mission in 2003 and without communications from it, it was initially deemed a failed mission. However 12 years later, photographs from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter proved that it did land, but solar panels likely did not open to power any activity.

Beagle2 photo
l-r Stewart Hall, Matthew Cosby, Ed Chester

I spoke to Matthew Cosby, Stewart Hall and Ed Chester  about their experience of this challenging  and award winning project. It was delivered on an extremely tight timescale, with a small project team.

In the interview they told the story of their involvement in the mission and I found out that the key aspects to making this a success were:

  • trust
  • teamwork
  • tight timescales

as well as lots of hard work and maintaining a sense of humour. Particularly a sense of humour.


The trio agreed that working on Beagle 2 was a brilliant experience – best job ever and a massive learning experience.  Risks were taken, the industry was sceptical about the project and methods adopted but this gave the team a triumph to look back on and knowledge that anything that needed to be faced in the future could probably be achieved.

So whilst you may not be considering a career as an engineer, I hope you can take some of these tips with you for anything that you want to achieve be that in your personal or professional life. Take a risk, try something, review it and do a little bit more.


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