Thursday, February 23, 2012

Searching for life on Mars

Searching for life on Mars

Boris Pavlishchev
21.02.2012, 17:38
Russia’s space agency Roskosmos intends to join the ExoMars European project aimed at sending two research missions to Mars in 2016 and 2018. It will make an official statement to this end early next month after talks with the European Space Agency on Russia’s role in the mission.
Russia’s space agency Roskosmos intends to join the ExoMars European project aimed at sending two research missions to Mars in 2016 and 2018. It will make an official statement to this end early next month after talks with the European Space Agency on Russia’s role in the mission. The ExoMars mission will be a Russian–European project after the Americans pulled out of it recently owing to NASA budget cuts.As part of the ExoMars project, there are plans to send two probes, an orbital one and a static lander, to the planet in 2016.  In 2018, a multi-purpose Mars Rover will be launched. The European Space Agency planned to launch the probes on board the American Atlas-5 rocket. But, last autumn, NASA made it clear that there will be a problem with the rocket in 2016 and this prompted the head of the EKA Jean-Jacques Dordain to invite Russia to join the ExoMars project. Dordain said that Russia’s involvement would not be limited to the supply of the Proton rocket. In short, Russia will be the third full-fledged partner in the project and will conduct its own experiments and enrich the mission, the head of the EKA assured. A 2018 mission using an American was planned, but NASA decided to completely pull out from the Martian project owing to financial difficulties.  

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