Tue. Dec 1st, 2020

Space agencies are being involved in crucial activities such as dispatching to the moon human missions and taking back samples from Mars. NASA chief Bridenstine Jim said this during an online International Astronautical Congress held on October 14. These discussions are taking place at a susceptible time. NASA is having talks with Congress about the 2021 budget and waiting for the U.S presidential election outcome. It is struggling to ensure it fulfils Trump’s administration objective to land people on the moon. This is expected to happen by 2024 through the Artemis program.

In the meantime, ESA is trying to deal with the departure of the U.K(Brexit) and the Covid-19 pandemic that is significantly affecting people across the world. So far, various agencies have shown their commitments towards the program. For instance, ESA has donated an airbus that will help to offer three-service modules as far as moon-landing is concerned.

Bridenstine said that ESA and NASA’s Artemis collaboration is of great significance regarding what they have done on the International Space Station. He added that they expect the Artemis program will be the most inclusive, most collaborative, most diverse, and the most prominent human exploration mission.

Robots cooperation

In 2021, ESA and Russian Space Agency are making plans to have a robotic lunar mission known as Luna-27. Its goal will be to find water ice below the moon’s South Pole. PROSPECT (Package for Resource Observation and in-Situ Prospecting for Exploration, Commercial Exploitation, and Transportation) is the laboratory that will be used to test this robot.

The most crucial thing about using PROSPECT is its potential to transfer information back to Earth. This will be enabled by accompanied satellites by the Airbus’ Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd that will pass on data back here on Earth. ESA and NASA are also collaborating to carry out some missions on the moon. For instance, they are scheduling to have a sample-return mission from Mars. This will build up NASA’s Perseverance rover that is expected to land in 2021, February, and Rosalind      Franklin rover by ESA, which will land in 2023. These rovers are developed to find for signs of habitability, based on duties like distinguishing organic molecules.

Mr. Woerner said that bringing resources together between various agencies will not only pool money but will ensure that those agencies work together towards their missions. Leonard from PROSPECT, Alenia Thales from ExoMars, and Airbus representatives also participated in the discussions. They said agency collaborations would bring capabilities and capacities together for the betterment of space exploration.

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