Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar to the right or below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.
Despite the failure of the Schiaparelli lander on ExoMars 2016, the European Space Agency today approved funds to build and fly the ExoMars 2020 rover mission.
At a meeting of European government ministers in Lucerne, Switzerland, on 1 and 2 December, ESA member states agreed to provide an extra €339 million for ExoMars 2020. ESA also announced that it will find a further €97 million by moving funds internally. Speaking at a press briefing after the meeting, ESA director-general Jan Wörner said this would be done “without detriment” to ESA’s wider science budget.
But not all projects were so fortunate. Member states did not commit the €250 million needed to fund a plan for ESA to participate in a mission to deflect the moon of an asteroid, although they left door open to future, similar projects.
I am not at present sure how they are going to divide up the work between Europe and Russia. Earlier it was my understanding that Russia would provide the roving technology, but right now I am very unsure about this.
One side note: At this same meeting ESA committed to sticking with ISS through 2024.