From our Science Consultant, Dr Oliver Postgate - After what had been written off as a complete disaster only weeks ago, the UK's plucky Beagle 2 Mars project received a welcome boost today, when news was released of a dramatic rescue involving six British military advisors. Professor Colin Pillinger, the Beagle 2 project leader, who bears a remarkable likeness to the scruffy bloke on Time Team, explained what had happened. "Well Tony, I was just amblin' about troyin' to foind me tankurd frum laast noite and saw this Roman coin juttin' out from a bit o slag we dug up smornin - Ere... some sod's spilt scrumpee on me new traaawol...".
At this point, Lord Robert Winston, whose historic stately home is host to the archaeological dig, offered an explanation. "Colin's team have dropped a clanger, it seems. In line with Beagle's advanced miniaturisation technology, we decided to shrink a few of the chaps and let them hitch a ride to Mars. All off the record of course... but it er... seems to have come a bit unstuck. Their completely innocent mission was to er um... look for radioactive Inca remains in the Sea of Mexico mesa-craterette on Mars. All in the name of science of course, and a topping good story for a future Time Team episode, too."
Lord Winston, broadcaster and expert on genetic engineering, went on to explain how the advisors' miniaturisation process went wrong. "It seems that the Martian atmosphere was less dense than we thought and this prompted an unexpected reversal in the shrink algorithm".
"On entry to the atmosphere, all six chaps grew back to normal size and the sudden weight increase caused the parachutes to fail, so Beagle plummeted like a stone", added Lord Winston, puffing on his trademark cigar and aggressively brandishing his famous two-fingered salute at passers-by.
"Some happy-go-lucky whistling locals rescued them", added Lady Winston, and of course they kindly offered to put the men up in very secure lodgings until we can find a way of getting them back to Blighty with the booty. With a wry smile, her ladyship added, "Thankfully, this algorithm shift paradigm oxymoron didn't happen in the practice run". An aide confided that the chaps had been inserted into a flea's arse in the early trials involving Dartmoor ponies.
A Time Team spokeswoman confirmed that Professor Pillinger and Dr Phil Harding have never been seen together in the same room at the same time.