The official space agencies of Russia and Europe have announced that the two European forces are working together to launch a mission to mars.
Greater Europe have had a long and illustrious history of not working well together ; Europe said democracy, Russia said communism. Russia said fight your own battles! European allies took on Germany alone. In fact they’ve disagreed on just about everything from visas and trade, to energy and military power, so it comes as a surprise then, that the two global powers have agreed to work together to take on an entirely new force : space.
Just last week, Roscosmos, the wonderfully shortened name of the Russian Federal Space Agency and the European Space Agency (the ESA) signed an agreement that sees them working together in order to explore space. With the initial proposed missions seeing them going all the way to Mars, this new decision signals a real drive to accelerate their progress in the space race, especially as no other international space agencies seem to have any plans or concerns with the wider universe, as most of them (China, the USA) seem to be more focussed on their military outfits.
For the first mission, set to launch in 2016, the ESA will produce the Trace Gas Orbiter (which will measure and study Mars’ atmosphere to figure out its chemical components), the entry, descent and landing demonstration modules, which will be allow the Trace Gas Orbiter to orbit Mars and effectively survey it. In 2018, the ESA will provide the carrier and the ExoMars Rover, which is essentially a robot with wheels that is capable of searching for life and collecting samples from 2 metres under the surface of the previously thought barren planet. Russia, on the other hand will provide the rockets for both missions (of course), and the descent module and surface platform for the 2018 Mars mission.
The United States of America were supposed to join in on the ExoMars project but last year, the President of the United States, Barack Obama, dramatically slashed his country’s space budget, preventing NASA from being able to amass the funds needed to contributed to the European and Russian plans, but they will, apparently, still be providing some communications and engineering support.
Hopefully once this project fully launches in 3 years time we will be one step closer to finding out if there really is life on Mars.
Source : space.com