The images, taken with the Visual Monitoring Camera on board Mars Express, show Beagle 2 as a bright disk slowly drifting away from Mars Express. The spacecraft is rotating like a spinning top approximately once every 4 seconds. This motion has the effect of stabilising the spacecraft's motion during the remainder of its journey to Mars and its entry into the planet's atmosphere.
When the first picture was taken, at 8:33 GMT, Beagle 2 was about 20 metres (66 ft) away from the mother spacecraft and drifting away at a speed of about 0.3 m/s (1 ft/s).
The images show the top of the lander's cone-shaped outer shell. The heat shield that will protect the spacecraft during its headlong plunge into the planet's atmosphere on 25 December is out of sight on the far side of Beagle 2.