Colin Pillinger

Richard McKim

Yes, I shall miss that accent. I worked with Colin to help with an exhibition he was doing on the history of Mars exploration, in the year prior to Beagle II (2002) and then provided groundbased support while Beagle II was about to land. By chance (but not unexpectedly for the martian season) a regional dust storm arose in a nearby part of the planet in 2003 December, and caused Colin some anxious moments. Unable to get images from NASA or elsewhere in real time, he did announce that he had ‘phoned up Richard McKim’ for his Mars weather reports! It was easy for me to follow the planet from my garden, and then to give him a call. And of course I received images from around the world to add in to the picture. In the end, we shall never know for certain whether the dust storm or some other factor was the reason for the demise of Beagle II. Colin was a great British scientist and we are definitely the poorer for his untimely passing.