Colin Pillinger, the excellently eccentric and brilliantly sideburned scientist behind the failed attempted to land a probe on Mars in the early 2000s, had died. We will fondly remember his gloriously bonkers and enthusiastic appearances on the news. He was the previous generation's Brian Cox.
Pillinger's Beagle 2 lander made it all the way out to Mars but somehow failed shortly after separating from its delivery orbiter. The probe would've drilled into the surface, deployed a robotic arm, examined dust with a microscope and more, with the results analysed by Pillinger and the University of Leicester team. Colin would've exploded with delight had it worked. [BBC]