EU's Mars rover slips to 2018

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Danzi

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Europe's flagship robotic rover mission to Mars now looks certain to leave Earth in 2018, two years later than recently proposed, the BBC understands.
The ExoMars vehicle is intended to search the Red Planet for signs of past or present life.
The delay is the third for the mission originally planned to launch in 2011.

Full article here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8168954.stm
 
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bbfreakDude

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Its unfortunate that there is no other agency that has the same level of commitment to space exploration as NASA. RKA? The last mission they launched beyond LEO was never, the Soviet Union was the last time the Russians successful had a mission beyond LEO. JAXA? They are moving forward slowly, but at least they're moving forward. The ESA meanwhile can't even commit to its flagship mission without wanting the outside aid that turns it into Curiosity Lite.

I want the ESA to succeed, and I know this stuff is expensive. Still, the ESA has to do some of these things on their own if they are to mature as a agency. What irks me is this looks like it wont be an ESA/NASA mission, as a NASA/ESA mission. As the whole rover and its missions goals will change just due to NASA's involvement.

Of course the ESA should of kept it simple from the beginning, instead of beefing it up as they went along.

Just to be clear, I don't mind if we give them a ride, I don't mind having instruments on their rover, or having an orbiter paired with their rover etc. What I do mind is the underling framework of the mission and what the rover is changing and not in their interest except to save monies.

Why? We need more than just NASA to be a major player as far as space exploration goes. People may be upset with NASA, but look at the other guys. The ESA, JAXA, RKA. It isn't like their level of commitment is better than ours, in fact its worse.

Again, I understand that space exploration is expensive but I do not feel the ESA has commuted anywhere near what it could. Heck, the lack of comments in this forum can be easily interpreted as nobody expecting anything less from the ESA.
 
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aphh

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Your assertion of the situation is accurate.

We're proceeding at snail's pace. Almost 9 more years to send a rover. Everybody speaks about raising technological abilities for the future, but nobody is willing to make the required commitment to do so.

Monies are desperately needed elsewhere, to simply live everyday life, not invest in the future.
 
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Bill_Wright

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Space is harsh, and Mars has been especially cruel. I commend ESA for not simply giving up. Slipping is not quitting as NASA has had to do with the new lab / rover, which has had at least one schedule slip. Hopefully we do this stuff right, not just try to do it fast. Rovers without people will still be the way to go for a long time. Humans seem (?) pretty firmly in LEO and that is probably right where we should be for a while (TBD).

-- Bill
 
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Danzi

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To me, this is both good and bad

good
Why rush something like this? If there is a problem that is fatal to the mission then thats a lot of money wasted!

Bad
It is now not going to land upon Mars for about 9 years (if they stick to this new plan.)
Europe is formed of many countries, surly a slight larger contribution from each country would help pay, rather than relying on NASA. I think it is good that they are wiling to help us, but its the European space agency not the, 'European space agency - but we will leach of NASA's money whenever things look bad'

The ESA needs to be more independent!
 
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ZenGalacticore

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Echoing some of what bbfreak said, I think that with the combined wealth of all the members of the EU that ESA could definitely have a more comprehensive and committed space program. But at least they are having a go at it! :)

Although I'm not sure, but I don't think all or even most of the members of the EU are actually involved to any great extent with ESA. It's mostly Germany, Britain, France, Italy, and Sweden, IIRC.
 
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aphh

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ZenGalacticore":3olc97yg said:
Although I'm not sure, but I don't think all or even most of the members of the EU are actually involved to any great extent with ESA. It's mostly Germany, Britain, France, Italy, and Sweden, IIRC.
Most EU countries plus Canada as a non-voting partner are members of ESA, just several of the countries do not fund manned missions and countries get to choose what missions they participate in. This creates a problem, as per ESA's rules, only countries who shoulder the burden of a mission financially get to bid to build the technology.

So a country might have the know-how, but having not participated in the funding of a mission, do not get to offer to build the technology. There was talks about changing this policy, but I am not sure if anything was done about it.

A country with large aero-space sector not getting to bid for the manned missions is U.K. This is definitely bad for both ESA and U.K., but the decision not to participate in manned missions has so far not changed in Britain.
 
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MeteorWayne

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ESA's budget by category:

http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/About_ESA/S ... L2F_0.html

"All Member States contribute to these programmes on a scale based on their Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The other programmes, known as ‘optional’, are only of interest to some Member States, who are free to decide on their level of involvement."
 
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ZenGalacticore

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Right. But excluding Britain and her aerospace know-how, what countries besides Germany and France contribute to a meaningful extent to ESA? That is what I am unsure about.
 
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MeteorWayne

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I'm still searching for a contribution level by country. Gimme a little time :)
 
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radarredux

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Danzi":175quvtk said:
Europe's flagship robotic rover mission to Mars now looks certain to leave Earth in 2018, two years later than recently proposed
One thing I hate about Mars and why I like the Moon for Beyond LEO exploration (manned or unmanned) is the two-year cycle for launch windows for Mars. If you you get backed up by a few weeks or months, it costs you two years. :(
 
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mithridates

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radarredux":3sg0sdwz said:
Danzi":3sg0sdwz said:
Europe's flagship robotic rover mission to Mars now looks certain to leave Earth in 2018, two years later than recently proposed
One thing I hate about Mars and why I like the Moon for Beyond LEO exploration (manned or unmanned) is the two-year cycle for launch windows for Mars. If you you get backed up by a few weeks or months, it costs you two years. :(
They should send a rover to Ceres instead. More frequent launch windows and it could be done on the cheap, since it wouldn't have any previous rovers to be compared to re: scientific return. Just wandering around on the surface, taking pictures and a few measurements would be a success.
 
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tempest_5

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ZenGalacticore":132unvlv said:
Right. But excluding Britain and her aerospace know-how, what countries besides Germany and France contribute to a meaningful extent to ESA? That is what I am unsure about.
Spain & Italy contribute a significant proportion. A number of companies in these countries are major sub component / assembly suppliers.

aphh":132unvlv said:
So a country might have the know-how, but having not participated in the funding of a mission, do not get to offer to build the technology. There was talks about changing this policy, but I am not sure if anything was done about it.
Yep, it's called "Geographic return" and can be exceedingly frustrating when you have to work with it.

ZenGalacticore":132unvlv said:
Echoing some of what bbfreak said, I think that with the combined wealth of all the members of the EU that ESA could definitely have a more comprehensive and committed space program. But at least they are having a go at it!
Being a British Spacecraft Engineer, a rare breed but we do exist, I have always found ESA to be committed. Their people tend to be very thorough and they gets the results. When you look at ESA programmes they might not be quite as prolific as NASA but they have a high success rate.

What you have to understand is that as a pan European agency, ESA have lots of lords and masters to satisfy. Whilst NASA always seems to be at odds with congress on funding, it probably finds it easier in one sense to deal with as there is only one congress. In short, NASA probably has more autonomy.
Public perception also plays a part. Space technology appears to be an accepted part of the North American mentality. Here in Europe, especially the UK, it is generally seen as being something done by the US, Russia & the French, therefore why should "we" get involved when we need Hosiptals, Schools, Public Transport, decent roads etc. With all that attitude, funding can be an issue.

Another point is that we have to launch from Kourou, French Guiana in South America due to a lack of Eastern coast. This puts all the Ariane launches far away & helps distance the whole thing in the mind. You can't just go over to Florida to watch the shuttle go off.

Danzi":132unvlv said:
Europe is formed of many countries, surly a slight larger contribution from each country would help pay, rather than relying on NASA. I think it is good that they are wiling to help us, but its the European space agency not the, 'European space agency - but we will leach of NASA's money whenever things look bad'
I don't think it is fair to accuse ESA of leaching money from NASA. Only a minority of missions are major collaborations with NASA, the rest are entirely European.
 
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JonClarke

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Why any delay is disapointing there are a lot of upsides as. The combined mission now involves an orbiter to map methane, a small lander (primarily to test technology but doubless with a small science package) (both in 2016), ExoMars itself, and a mid range US lander (both 2018) that would collect samples for reventual return. There also seems to be strong interest in targeting the methane plume areas.

Jon
 
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