US, EU May Launch Single Mars Rover

NASA, ESA discuss combining missions
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 8, 2011 1:42 AM CDT
ESA's 'ExoMars' probe has been in the works since 2005.   (European Space Agency)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – American and European space agencies trying to reconcile their Mars ambitions with their budgets are stepping up cooperation. NASA and ESA had planned to send two rovers to Mars for a tandem mission in 2018, but they're now considering combining functions and sending a single rover. America's Max-C rover is still in the early planning stages while the Europeans were ready to start building their ExoMars rover, the BBC notes.

The planned single rover would both probe under the planet's surface with a drill and collect interesting rocks to be sent to Earth. The agencies have suggested that the rover be built in Europe, with a mix of European and American instruments on board, and be launched into space and delivered to Mars by NASA. The rover would be placed on the surface of Mars by the same equipment that will be used by NASA's Curiosity mission later this year: a rocket-powered "skycrane."

My Take on This Story
Show results without voting  |