Open Eye: Hirst and Blur back Beagle2

Artist Damien Hirst has joined musicians from the band Blur in backing Beagle2, the Mars lander championed by Professor Colin Pillinger of the OU's Planetary Sciences Research Institute.

Schoolgirls making an educational trip to the Royal Society's recent New Frontiers in Science exhibition had the unexpected thrill of chatting to Blur's Alex James and Dave Rowntree, who were sharing a stand with Colin and a model of Beagle2. The pair were schoolboy scientists and are keen to spread the word that "science is cool".

Damien Hirst, famed for his spot paintings, is to create an artwork for the mission. "Not in my wildest dreams would I have thought about making an artwork which would actually travel to the red planet," he said. "It was great to be asked to help."

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