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  Beagle lost 'because of thin air'
Updated 24 August 2004, 11.47
Beagle 2 has been declared lost
The UK-led team which tried to land the Beagle 2 probe on Mars has published an inquiry into why it went wrong.

The team lost contact with the lander on 25 December, and say it was probably because Mars' atmosphere was thinner than they had expected.

That would mean Beagle travelled too quickly, and its airbags and parachutes couldn't open in time to slow it down.

But they accept there could have been other reasons, and hope to learn from their mistakes for the next attempt.

Simulation of Beagle 2 entering Mars' atmosphere
No-one is sure what happened

Beagle had no way of getting in touch with Earth from the moment it left its mothership until it was supposed to land.

If it had, the scientists might be able to say what went wrong with more confidence.

The team hope the instruments they developed for Beagle will one day be used in other missions.

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