Mars, no European rover launch this year due to sanctions on Russia

Mars, no European rover launch this year due to sanctions on Russia


The ExoMars mission, which includes the Trace Gas Orbiter (in orbit around Mars since 2016) and the UK-built Rosalind Franklin rover, is the European Space Agency's (ESA) most significant cooperation with Russia beyond the International Space Station. . The mission, which ESA originally developed with NASA, underwent cancellation in 2012 after the US space agency pulled out due to budget cuts under US President Barack Obama.

The Russian space agency, Roscosmos, intervened and relaunched the mission. His contributions include the rover's Kazachok landing pad, several scientific instruments, and the launch on Russia's heavy P roton rocket. ESA admitted that September launch now looks unlikely in a new statement released on Monday, February 28.

"We are fully implementing sanctions imposed on Russia by our member states," ESA officials wrote in the declaration. “As for the continuation of the ExoMars program, the sanctions and the broader context make a 2022 launch very unlikely.”

The ExoMars partnership has been plagued with problems for years. The first part of the mission, which includes the Trace Gas Orbiter and an experimental landing pad called Schiaparelli, reached the orbit of Mars in October 2016. As the orbiter began observing without problems, the lander crashed on the surface of the planet due to a software glitch.

if (jQuery ("# ​​crm_srl-th_scienze_d_mh2_1"). is (": visible")) {console.log ("Edinet ADV adding zone: tag crm_srl-th_scienze_d_mh2_1 slot id: th_scienze_d_mh2"); } The launch of the Rosalind Franklin rover, originally scheduled for 2018, was delayed due to problems with the parachute landing system until 2020 and then, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, until 2022. Now, the future of the mission is uncertain as it would require significant financial investments by ESA to replace the systems built by Russia. "ESA's Director General will analyze all options and prepare a formal decision on the way forward by ESA member states," ESA officials wrote.

The ExoMars rover, named after British chemistry Rosalind Franklin known for her DNA structure research, may have a unique place among the fleet of vehicles currently exploring the Red Planet. The rover is equipped with a 2-meter drill, which would allow it to study samples from rock layers much deeper below the planet's surface than its American counterpart, the Perseverance rover. Astrobiologists believe that if life had ever existed on Mars, traces of it would likely have survived underground, hidden from the harsh radiation hitting the surface.

if (jQuery ("# ​​crm_srl-th_scienze_d_mh3_1"). Is ( ": visible")) {console.log ("Edinet ADV adding zone: tag crm_srl-th_scienze_d_mh3_1 slot id: th_scienze_d_mh3"); } The ESA statement comes after Roscosmos announced over the weekend that it would stop launching its Soyuz rockets from the European spaceport in French Guiana in response to European sanctions against Russia. Arianespace, a European supplier of space launches, has been using the medium-sized Soyuz since 2011 to complement its A rian 5 and light Vega rockets.

Roscosmos CEO Dmitry Rogozin responded on his Twitter account to the announcement of the 'ESA on Monday, writing: "The European Space Agency, to spite the Russian grandmother, has decided to freeze from the ears". (Several Twitter users claiming to be Russian-speaking confirmed the translation, stating that it was referring to a Russian proverb meaning “to challenge someone by hurting yourself”.)

Last week, the UK, one of the major ESA member states, indicated that future space cooperation with Russia may not be possible. On Friday, the German Ministry of Education and Research announced that all "existing and long-standing cooperation in science with Russia is stopped immediately" and all "current and planned activities are frozen and critically reviewed". Germany is the largest contributor to ESA's budget.

ExoMars had targeted a 12-day launch window that opened on 20 September. Due to how the orbits of Earth and Mars align, spacecraft can easily be launched on the Red Planet only every 26 months. Currently, the spacecraft is being tested in Turin; a trip to Russia was planned in April.

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