May 28, 2022

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Ban on Russia from Mars - Can Elon Musk be the savior?

Ban on Russia from Mars – Can Elon Musk be the savior?

Russia has severe sanctions and is in the process of isolating itself from the world economy and the European community. But it does not stop on the planet.

Russia also faces consequences beyond the borders of its citizens – perhaps beyond the battlefield in Ukraine – in space.

Kasturi in court?

Recently, the ESA (European Space Agency) announced the termination of its cooperation with the Russian space agency Roskosmos. Have been suspended due to the war Then sanctions imposed by ESA member states.

Smart: Eirik Newth thinks ESA’s decision to exclude Russia from its cooperation plan is a wise one. Photo: Morten Holm / NTB

– It’s ESA’s smart. This is an absolutely necessary decision. Astronomer and astronaut Eric Newt told TV2 that Russia was behaving unreliably.

He adds:

– This is a shame, of course, but ESA is already looking for new partners to work with.

Newt believes the ESA is now looking at Elon Musk and his space agency, SpaceX.

– I think they will end there. There are not many other options.

What are they missing?

ESA is cooperating with the Russians on a project on Exomars project Mars. In September 2020, they should have sent their first rover to the planet, but due to technical challenges it did not happen.

With Russia further banned, it is unlikely to launch in 2024 either. The rover was to be used to obtain samples from Mars.

Rover: The ESA is scheduled to send a rover.  Photo: M Dipat / AB

Rover: The ESA is scheduled to send a rover. Photo: M Dipat / AB

The purpose of the Exomars project is to find out if there were any life on the red planet. Or will it still be found there.

So far, Euro-Russian cooperation has launched a space probe to study various gases orbiting Mars.

The ESA will investigate whether they should pursue the project alone or collaborate with other partners. If so, he writes, it will increase costs BBC.

NASA replacement

Christer Hawkley-Hanson, chief executive of the Norwegian Space Center, says SpaceX could contribute to one area.

– Space X is not a current candidate to contribute to the ExoMars project, but they can help get started. Space X is already cooperating with ESA in launching European satellites.

He explains that Russia is responsible for the landing block to be used, while ESA is responsible for the rover orbiting Mars.

However, Russian technology has also been used in the rover, and European technology has been used in the landing module.

Candidate ?: Christer Hawkley-Hanson at the Norwegian Space Center says SpaceX will help launch.  Photo: Hannibal Hanske / AB

Candidate ?: Christer Hawkley-Hanson at the Norwegian Space Center says SpaceX will help launch. Photo: Hannibal Hanske / AB

Has been pulled before

Hauglie-Hanssen points out that Russia has backed down from some actions even before the ESA suspended the country.

In particular, Roscosmos has withdrawn from launching two satellites with a Soyuz rocket from Crowe in French Guiana.

There may be an opportunity to shift Russia’s responsibility in the cooperation program with NASA. Hockley-Hansen says Japan may be an opportunity in the future.

– ESA and NASA have long-term cooperation in many activities.

– Too bad

Huckley-Hansen is Norway’s representative on the ESA Council. He says the council often meets to deal with issues that have arisen since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Insecure: It is difficult to say when a launch will take place, says Christer Hawkley-Hanson, CEO of the Norwegian Space Center.  Photo: Norwegian Space Center

Insecure: It is difficult to say when a launch will take place, says Christer Hawkley-Hanson, CEO of the Norwegian Space Center. Photo: Norwegian Space Center

– The ExoMars project is a comprehensive project that has been going on for almost 20 years.

He says the final decision to break up Russian cooperation is in line with the EU’s approach and sanctions, including Norway.

– This is the result of the political position. Now there are several areas where Russia has cooperated with the ESA, where work is being stopped.

Maybe 2026

The big question is when will the Mars launch take place in the future.

– Now it looks like it will be irrelevant in 2024, but Hawkley-Hanson says they will consider what opportunities they have until 2026.

Huge sums have been invested in the project. He thinks the result is very unfortunate.

– This affects a joint international research collaboration. This is awful in so many ways.

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