A British-built space probe that disappeared without trace more than a decade ago has been spotted on the surface of Mars, the UK Space Agency said on Friday.
The Beagle 2 lander was found partially deployed with one of its parachutes still attached in images taken by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO).
Scientists said it would be impossible to renew contact or retrieve data from the machine, which was lost without trace on Dec. 26, 2003.
"These images are consistent with the Beagle 2 having successfully landed on Mars," David Parker, head of the UK Space Agency, told reporters in London.
Parker said the find vindicated the hard work behind the ill-fated mission, which has remained a mystery.
The driving force behind the project, planetary scientist Colin Pillinger, died last year not knowing whether his rover landed successfully or not.
"To be frank, I had all but given up hope of ever knowing what happened to Beagle 2," Parker said.
"Every Christmas Day since 2003 I have wondered what happened to Beagle 2," he added.
The mission gripped Britain and there were emotional reactions to the presumed destruction of Beagle 2 during a landing sequence followed around the country.
Named after Charles Darwin's ship HMS Beagle, Beagle 2 was shaped like a giant pocket watch and opened to reveal solar panels, a robotic arm and research equipment designed to search for
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2015