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My latest piece for The Guardian is to report sad news:


"The pioneering scientist Prof Colin Pillinger has died aged 70, his family has said.

The planetary scientist, who was the driving force behind Britain's Mars lander Beagle 2, suffered a brain haemorrhage at his home in Cambridge and died in hospital.

Pillinger, who was awarded the CBE in 2003, was an unconventional scientist who understood the value of showmanship to sell big ideas to the public.

"Colin had the rare gift of being able to make things that were complicated and ambitious seem simple and achievable. We need more scientists like that. He was unique, and I will miss him," said Alex James of Blur.

Pillinger enlisted Blur to write a song to be Beagle 2's call sign back home. It was to be broadcast as soon as Beagle 2 began work on the surface of Mars. He also persuaded the artist Damien Hurst to provide a spot painting to use in calibrating the spacecraft's camera. ..."


You can read the full story here.

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