On December 19, 2003, the Beagle 2 Mars lander, a probe sent out by the European Space Agency, detached from its mothership for a decent down to the surface. If all went well, it was supposed to radio back that everything was fine when it touched down on Christmas Day. Then nothing. Radio silence.
This was a huge disappointment to Blur because the “I’m okay” signal from Beagle was supposed to be a specially-commissioned instrumental piece by the band. Bass player Alex James was especially crushed because as the band’s space nut, he had worked very hard to get the project funded in the first place. Last month, though, high-res photos taken by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter showed a shiny object of about the right size in exactly the right spot for Beagle 2.
Speculation is that the probe landed intact but its solar panels and/or radio antennae didn’t deploy properly. It probably played Blur’s song over and over again, but because of the mechanical issues, no one heard it. How…lonely.