Panning Beagle 2.

Well, it had to happen, mud is being slung in the Beagle 2 story. Notably, it seems from this report [The Register] that the reason that Beagle 2 failed was mainly due to the project leader was overloaded by having to both seek funding and work on the device all in an accellerated timeframe.

Now, for anyone who has worked in British academia and has witnessed how funding works for research this would be seen to be the norm. ie. That’s the way british research works, or possibly doesn’t. Researchers have to spend all their time searching for money, sending huge amounts of paperwork to the funding councils to prove that they are actually researching things. Not only this, but, in general before the councils will fund something they want to know what they’re going to discover. (Yes, they want the results guaranteed before they will fund research to find out what’s out there!)

Also in that article they mention a report by the National Audit Office about their ideas. it’s obvious from even the cursory summary of the report given that they haven’t a clue about how to gauge scientific or exporational endeavours when it comes to cost benefit analysis. They’re probably fine when it comes to finding out how well councils have spent money on rubbish collection, however.