13 Jul 2022 11:03

Russia or Europe unable to accomplish Mars exploration project alone - RAS member

MOSCOW. July 13 (Interfax) - Russia and the European Space Agency (ESA) that used to work on the ExoMars 2022 mission together will be unable to implement the project separately, Lev Zelyony, member of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) and academic director of the RAS Space Research Institute, told Interfax.

"No, we cannot do this alone," Zelyony said in response to a question whether an independent mission to Mars was possible.

Both sides will be experiencing problems if they try to implement the project without each other, as all technologies developed for the Russian-European mission to Mars are closely integrated with one another, he said.

"We had a platform, and they had a rover and an orbiter, while we also had a launch vehicle. Now everything has to be done anew," Zelyony said.

"It's a tragedy that ExoMars will never go on mission. I was fighting and writing letters to their management but there was nothing they could do," he said.

ESA head Josef Aschbacher said on Tuesday that the agency was set to fully stop cooperation with Roscosmos in the project.

In response, Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin ordered that Russian crewmembers of the International Space Station stop operating the European Robotic Arm.

ExoMars is a joint exploration program of the ESA and Roscosmos aimed at searching for proof of former or current life on Mars.