Europe, Russia delay Mars mission to 2022

  • Europe, Russia delay Mars mission to 2022

Europe, Russia delay Mars mission to 2022

This image shows a front view of the rover with the drill in a vertical position.

The European Space Agency and Roscosmos, Russia's space agency, have postponed its launch, partially due to concerns over the coronavirus, they said in a statement on Thursday. The officials made their decision after determining that the agencies need more time to test the various aspects of the mission. The ExoMars rover, named Rosalind Franklin, includes a drill to access the sub-surface of Mars as well as a miniature life-search laboratory kept within an ultra-clean zone.

ESA and Roscosmos chiefs Jan Wörner and Dmitry Rogozin agreed that more testing is needed for the spacecraft with the final hardware and software. "In addition, the parties acknowledged that the final stage of ExoMars compromised the General deterioration of the epidemiological situation in European countries", - said in a statement.

"We have made a hard but well-weighed decision to postpone the launch to 2022".

This "left our experts practically no possibility to proceed with travels to partner industries", it said.

"We have made a hard but well-weighed decision to postpone the launch to 2022", said Dmitry Rogozin, head of Russia's Roscosmos agency. "We want to make ourselves 100 percent sure of a successful mission", said by means of an announcement.

"But of course now, in this situation, we see that the coronavirus has also an impact on the preparation, because people from different places of industry in Russian Federation, in Italy and France can not move easily as in the past, so therefore there is also an impact".

The rover itself (called Rosalind Franklin), along with the landing platform and Proton launch vehicle are all ready for launch.

When it finally reaches Mars, the rover will join the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO), which has been performing scientific research since entering Mars' orbit in October 2016, and which will also function as a communication link for the ExoMars rover when it finally arrives.

The descent module has been undergoing propulsion system qualification in the past month.

In any case, getting all that to the surface requires a muddled landing framework, and the ExoMars crucial utilize two arrangements of parachutes. Now, the joint-agency project teams are eyeing a new launch window between August and October 2022. The 2 planets exclusively skim shut by each other each 26 months, giving scientists a restricted window to launch spacecraft to the Purple Planet.

Tests carried out in May and August previous year on the sophisticated parachute system vital to the landing phase of the mission failed.

The ExoMars program is a joint endeavor between the Roscosmos State Corporation and ESA. NASA's Curiosity and InSight landers are still in operation on the planet.