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 Clockwise from below left: artists impression of Beagle 2 on Mars; simulated Beagle 2, at same scale in close up and comparison between real image and simulated image using HiRISE sized pixels in close-up; lander orientation, and tilt that enables best match; simulated heat shield, real images of heat shield and simulated image using HiRISE pixels; and heatr shield.

virtual camera that could take pictures equivalent toNASA’s Reconnaissance Orbiter. Finally, these images had to be pixelated tomatch the resolution of the Orbiter’s images,” saysNickHiggett, leader of theDeMontfortUniversity simulation team. Kuzmanova and Dr Eric Tathamused 3D software tomodel

the scene in three dimensions, adjusting the position of the sun and the resting angle and orientation of the Beagle 2, unfolding the four solar panels at different angles taking in the illumination conditions on the planet until they found the best visualmatch to what the NASA original images showed. These simulations were then adjusted to reproduce the resolution and view point of the NASA spacecraft. Higgett explains: “The visual comparison between the real and

simulated images could then begin to identify which landing configuration (one, two, three or four deployed solar panels) was the best fit. This was originally a proof of principle project. However, we have gone way beyond this original plan to reach this exciting conclusion that Beagle 2 did not crash but landed and probably deployedmost of its panels.Hopefully, these results help to solve a long heldmystery and will benefit any future missions toMars.” Sims adds: “Although the concept of the reflection analysis was

mine, I didn’t know it would work. Thanks to the effort of the teamat DeMontfort University they proved that this concept could work and we have gatheredmore information on the failure of Beagle 2 to communicate and we are one step closer to knowing what happened. In reality, wemay of course never know exactly what caused its failure to communicate after what has been confirmed as a successful landing, which was a fantastic achievement by the Beagle 2 team. The work shows frustratingly that Beagle 2 came so close to working as intended onMars.” This work confirms that antenna transmission would probably

have been hampered by one of the panels failing to unfold correctly, confirming the previously supposed theory. It complements other techniques, such as super-resolution imaging, as conducted by Professor Jan-PeterMuller and his teamat University College London, announced in April 2016.Higgett says it is as close to a definitive explanation as would be possible without landing on the planet itself. There are a number of issues associated with the concept. First,

while a large number of possible combinations for the lander exist, initialmodelling, some ray tracing and comparison by eye indicated that only a few combinations of orientation would give the observed changes in the real images with sun angle. This then allowedmodelling to concentrate on number of panels deployed, “exact” angle of orientation and tilt of base, lid and panels. The second issue is where you place the boundaries of the

pixels; here a number of different starting positions were taken and again a bestmatch by eye approach was taken to eliminate poormatches before usingmathematical techniques. Third, De-Montfort has adapted commercial software to do the

simulations, correcting forMartian illumination and using measured or estimated reflectivities for surfaces. An exact simulation would require bespoke software, although it is believed that the inaccuracies introduced here are relatively small. However, tilts and angles derived fromthemethod should be treated as approximate. Despite the above issues, the researchers believe that the

concept is valid and provides important information on the configuration of Beagle 2 on the surface ofMars. The reflection analysis technique used for this research could

find applications in other fields where an illumination source is present and the target has a limited set of configurations and is highly reflective in nature. EE

 To view archive video for Beagle 2mission scan the QR code, left, or visit n0yh64po8b4q7gd/AABNqqpuyuJENDgiTVtqleLRa?dl=0

 To watch and embed a video interview with Professor Mark Sims about finding Beagle 2 scan the QR code, right, or visit watch?v=iAKAJR4N6zQ

December 2016 /// Environmental Engineering /// 11




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