European Space Agency Dumps Cooperation With Russia On Mars Mission
According to CNN's Sugam Pokharel and Amy Cassidy, the European Space Agency (ESA) is terminating cooperation with Russia on the project to launch Europe's first planetary rover, aimed to seek for signs of life on Mars.
Photo Insert: The ExoMars Rover was a supposed collaboration between the European Space Agency and the Russian space agency Roscosmos.
The ExoMars Rover, a collaboration between the European Space Agency and the Russian space agency Roscosmos, was scheduled to launch to Mars in September of this year. However, the European Space Agency stated in February that Russia's invasion of Ukraine made it "very unlikely."
Following the invasion of Ukraine and the imposition of sanctions on Russia, the agency ceased cooperation with Roscosmos on their joint Mars mission in March.
“Today @ESA Council addressed the ExoMars Rover and Surface Platform mission, acknowledging that the circumstances which led to the suspension of the cooperation with Roscosmos – the war in Ukraine and the resulting sanctions – continue to prevail,” ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher tweeted on Tuesday.
As a result, Aschbacher claimed, the agency's board directed him to officially end cooperation with Russia on the program. "New insights on the way forward with other partners will come at a media briefing on July 20; details to come," he added.
The rover was supposed to launch in July 2020; however, it was pushed back due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The mission's goal is to look for life on Mars and learn more about the planet's water history. The rover can drill through the surface of Mars to a depth of 6.5 feet (nearly 2 meters), where scientists hope to detect indications of life, according to CNN's Katie Hunt.