ESA is negotiating with NASA about the “rescue” of the ExoMars mission

The European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA are in joint negotiations on the “rescue” of the ExoMars mission. This was announced by ESA CEO Josef Aschbacher.

Rover Rosalind Franklin (concept). Source: ESA

The launch of ExoMars was scheduled for September 2022. The purpose of the mission was to deliver the Russian landing platform “Kazachok” and the European rover Rosalind Franklin to the Red Planet. The last had to search for biomarkers — compounds that could indicate the possibility of the existence of life on Mars in the past or even at the present time.

Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine has put an end to these plans. In protest, the ESA decided to break off cooperation with the aggressor country. 

According to Ashbacher, NASA representatives contacted their European colleagues and offered them their help. Currently, teams of specialists from ESA and NASA are conducting joint consultations to draw up a plan that will allow “restarting the mission”. 

One of the main tasks of ESA now is the search for a new launch vehicle and the construction of its landing platform, as well as the replacement of all Russian components with European ones. Special attention will be paid to a small radioisotope generator (RTG), which should protect the rover’s equipment from freezing during Martian nights. ESA has never created RTGs, but NASA has the relevant experience.

By June, the ESA leadership plans to approve a new mission plan, which will then be submitted to the participating countries of the organization for consideration. Recall that the next ballistic window for a flight to Mars will open at the end of 2024.

According to

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