This has got to be the best excuse for a failed space mission ever. The European Space Agency’s Beagle 2, which was set to explore the surface of Mars around the same time as NASA’s Spirit and Opportunity, never managed to dispatch a byte of data from the Red Planet. The probe was last seen a week before its planned landing in December, 2003 – unless we’re to believe a preview of the new film Transformers. What really happened, according to Hollywood? Why, poor little Beagle was crushed by a giant alien robot, of course. Its last transmission, sent from the surface, shows one of the enormous Transformers punching the helpless robot into scrap metal.
While we love this fictional scenario, we doubt ESA would have been able to keep details of such a transmission classified. Not while Spirit and Opportunity were grabbing headlines worldwide in their search for signs of water and life. With the folks at NASA boasting about sulfates, one of the Brits surely would have been tempted to counter, “Yes, but we found intelligent life forms that assume the shape of popular American vehicles.” Top that, NASA.—Gregory Mone
The incredible innovations, like drone swarms and perpetual flight, bringing aviation into the world of tomorrow. Plus: today's greatest sci-fi writers predict the future, the science behind the summer's biggest blockbusters, a Doctor Who-themed DIY 'bot, the organs you can do without, and much more.