Roscosmos and Russian Academy of Sciences consider Mars exploration with ExoMars groundwork

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26th March 2023 – (Moscow) Russia’s Roscosmos state space corporation and the Russian academy of sciences are contemplating the possibility of exploring Mars with the groundwork laid by the ExoMars 2022 mission. According to a representative of the state corporation, the specialists of Roscosmos and the Russian Academy of Sciences are studying the feasibility of exploring Mars while taking into account the work done under the ExoMars project. The study also includes the potential for attracting foreign partners, the press service noted.

Earlier, the European Space Agency (ESA) had categorically rejected Russia’s proposals to launch the ExoMars mission in 2024 or 2026, as specified by Roscosmos. The state corporation also added that ESA plans to launch the rover without Russia’s participation in October 2028. This development came after Roscosmos had announced that Russia could implement its part of the project at the national level or with partners from friendly countries.

The entire world science community had lost the ExoMars-2022 mission, and the Russian scientific instruments (ADRON-RM and ISEM) installed on the European rover of the ExoMars-2022 mission would be dismantled as part of the work on mutual return of equipment, Roscosmos said. However, ESA had completely abandoned cooperation with Russia on Mars exploration, as announced by Roscosmos Director General Yury Borisov in November.

Despite the setback, Roscosmos wished their colleagues from ESA a successful launch of the Mars rover in October 2028 without their participation. In July last year, the head of the ESA Josef Aschbacher announced on Twitter that the agency’s board of governors had decided to terminate cooperation with Roscosmos on the ExoMars program. At that time, Roscosmos had stressed that neither the scientific community of Europe nor Russia would benefit from such a step.

The study being carried out by Roscosmos and the Russian Academy of Sciences could pave the way for future prospects for Mars exploration. With the groundwork laid by the ExoMars 2022 mission, Russia could explore Mars independently or with partners from friendly countries. This development could also lead to increased cooperation in space exploration, enabling countries to leverage their strengths and contribute to scientific progress.