ESA Pledges Nearly Half Billion Dollars to Exomars Robot
The European Space Agency or ESA has committed almost half a billion dollars to its next mission to Mars, despite the crash landing of the Schiaparelli lander. Another mission to redirect an asteroid’s moon has been cancelled in order to get funds for the Mars mission.
It was last October when the ESA had been hoping to join NASA on the surface of Mars, but the lander was not able to descend on the surface properly and crashed to the ground. However, the orbiter that brought Schiaparelli to the red planet is functioning and the agency is intending on using it to get more data about Mars.
While it would make sense for the agency to abandon plans on launching another Mars mission, given that the Beagle 2 which is another of its lander, also crashed back in 2003, the ESA member states decided to commit $464 million to the ExoMars 2020 project. The amount is relatively small compared to the $10 billion the agency initially negotiated to fund the rest of its missions.
It was the agency’s decision to cancel the Asteroid Impact Mission in order to get funding for the Mars project. The mission involved a pair of probes and a lander which were to be sent to the asteroid called Didymos to closely observe the results of another mission which was initially planned to follow it. The second mission was named the Double Asteroid Redirection Test to observe the effects of hitting a space rock really hard.