the crisis in Ukraine takes away the future of the European Union on Mars

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In September, the Rosalind Franklin rover was due to leave for Mars with the goal of searching for signs of life on Mars. It was the launch of the ExoMars mission. One of the great space events of the year. There was only one problem: Russia.

Indeed, the planned launch was in collaboration with the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, and the current circumstances required decisions. That is what the ESA Governing Council has been doing in recent days and has unanimously recognized that the situation resulting from the war in Ukraine makes it impossible to carry out the launch. Exomars has been discontinued.

ExoMars suspended… and no plan B

ExoMars isn’t just a program seeking to detect evidence of the past presence of life on the Red Planet (and the possibility that it may still exist underground); but, at the same time, it wants to put in place the necessary technologies to send, first, a sample return mission to Mars and, later, a possible manned mission. However, all that will have to wait..

ExoMars, this is Europe's most ambitious mission to Mars

“As an intergovernmental organization with a mandate to develop and implement space programs with full respect for European values, we deeply deplore the human victims and the tragic consequences of the aggression against Ukraine,” has explained the European Space Agency (ESA) today in a statement. “While we recognize the impact on the scientific exploration of space, ESA fully aligns itself with the sanctions imposed on Russia by its member states”.

As they discuss the best options for the mission, Exomars is not alone in being affected by cross-sanctions. After Roscosmos withdrew its staff from the European spaceport in French Guiana, four more missions (Galileo M10, Galileo M11, Euclid and EarthCare) have also been suspended.

In September, the Rosalind Franklin rover was due to leave for Mars with the goal of searching for signs of…

In September, the Rosalind Franklin rover was due to leave for Mars with the goal of searching for signs of…

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