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Last Updated: Monday, 29 November, 2004, 07:07 GMT
Asteroid named after professor
Prof Colin Pillinger, BBC
Prof Pillinger is honoured by the naming of an asteroid after him
The scientist behind the failed Beagle 2 landing on Mars has been honoured by the International Astronomical Union which has named an asteroid after him.

Asteroid 15614 is named 'Pillinger' after Milton Keynes-based Open University professor Colin Pillinger.

Nasa senior scientist Dr Everett Gibson said: "A piece of Professor Pillinger now moves between Mars and Jupiter."

Professor Pillinger said: "It's nice to know something named after me will be existing for the next billion years."

Contributions to planetary science

The asteroid was named Pillinger by the International Astronomical Union in recognition of the professor's scientific discoveries and numerous contributions to planetary science.

Dr Gibson said: "For more than three decades he has been an enthusiastic Nasa team member and a world-class research scientist."

The asteroid is part of a belt of debris between Mars and Jupiter which may be the remains of a planet.

Thousands of Solar System objects, such as comets and asteroids, have been named by the scientific community.

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Beagle team probes its own loss
24 Aug 04 |  Science/Nature

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