Oct 06, 2011
Nasa, Esa may bring in a partner for Mars missionBack
© Reuse this
Part of discussions between Bolden and the Esa director-general included talk around possibly using Arianespace to carry out the 2016 launch, using an Arian 5 launcher, or bringing in Russia as a partner for this portion of the operation.
Originally, Nasa would have provided the launch vehicle for the 2016 mission.
Speaking at the International Astronautical Conference (IAC) in Cape Town, Enzo Giorgio, of contracting company Thales/Alenia Space, said that the joint Mars exploration programme had undergone a number of alternations as a result of financial constraints, but added that the intention remained that it would consist of two missions – one in 2016 and the other in 2018.
The aim of the 2016 mission would be to provide the required information for the planning of a successful entry descent and landing of the rover payload of the 2018 mission to Mars, as well as to perform investigation of the trace gases present in the Martian atmosphere and their potential sources, using a Trace Gas Orbiter.
The 2016 mission would also ensure that communication capability would be established for the 2018 mission, as well as other future rovers or equipment that could be placed on the planet’s surface.
The scenario for the 2018 Mars mission had originally included two rovers, one from Esa and a second from Nasa. Giorgio said that this had now been limited to one joint rover, but with the overall objectives of the mission remaining unchanged.
“The European objective, which is science, searching for life and exploring . . . will be there. On the other side, the Nasa objective will be the caching system which is going to collect samples and cache them for a later sample return system,” he said.
Girogio added that a number of aspects of the 2018 mission were still under discussion, such as whether to use nuclear or solar power for driving the rover and its equipment.
“This major tradeoff has significant consequences on the actual vehicle we have to select,” he said.
In addition the decision as to whether to use a single central computer system to run the entire rover’s operation or use a distributed system still had to be made.
Giorgio cautioned that the finalisation of the project was still “going to be subject to the major agreement which is now being discussed between Nasa, Esa and also within Esa between the European agencies”.
This is in the context of a theme, which has been running through the 2011 IAC of the high cost of space programmes, especially in light of the current economic situation in the US and Europe.
Edited by: Mariaan Webb© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Creamer Media Senior Researcher and Deputy Editor Online
Updated 16 minutes ago Andile Sangqu, former Xstrata and current Implats executive and new vice-president of the Chamber of Mines of South Africa, has sprung to further prominence as the new executive head of Anglo American South Africa. Anglo American plc also announced on Thursday that...
Updated 18 minutes ago European manufacturer Airbus is confident that it will win more orders for its flagship A380 Superjumbo airliner before the end of this year. "We should have some orders for the [A]380 this year," company chief operating officer: customers John Leahy told aviation...
Updated 52 minutes ago Allegations that South Africa promised a $10-million bribe to a former FIFA vice president to win its 2010 World Cup bid were unfounded, a South African Football Association (SAFA) spokesperson said on Wednesday. “We are disappointed at the allegations ... they are...
Recent Research Reports
Steel 2015: A review of South Africa's steel sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Steel 2015 report provides an overview of the key developments in the global steel industry and particularly of South Africa’s steel sector over the past year, including details of production and consumption, as well as the country's primary carbon...
Projects in Progress 2015 - First Edition (PDF Report)
In fact, this edition of Creamer Media’s Projects in Progress 2015 supplement tracks developments taking place under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, which has had four bidding rounds. It appears to remain a shining light on the...
Electricity 2015: A review of South Africa's electricity sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Electricity 2015 report provides an overview of State-owned power utility Eskom and independent power producers, as well as electricity planning, transmission, distribution and the theft thereof, besides other issues.
Construction 2015: A review of South Africa’s construction sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2015 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; the key participants in the sector; local construction demand; geographic diversification;...
Liquid Fuels 2014 - A review of South Africa's Liquid Fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2014 Report examines these issues, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing, competition in the sector, the...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2014 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
This Week's Magazine
While economic forecasts for the African continent are most favourable, African airlines may not be able to benefit from the expected growth in the region’s gross domestic product (GDP), International Air Transport Association VP: Africa Raphael Kuuchi has warned....
The Automotive Production and Development Programme (APDP) will need to change substantially post 2020, says Metair Investments South African operations COO Ken Lello. “We must not make tweaks. We have to change. What we are doing is not sustainable.”
Banking group Absa’s forecast is for the rand to end the year at around R13 against the dollar, weakening further to R13.50 by 2016, says Absa sectoral analyst Jacques du Toit. He warns that possible interest rate hikes in the US may see capital being pulled from...
The Dispute Resolution Centre at the Bargaining Council for the Civil Engineering Industry (BCCEI) is now open to handle party-to-party disputes. The BCCEI represents the interests of all level four to nine Construction Industry Development Board companies.
Communications technology firm Ericsson sub-Saharan Africa head Fredrik Jejdling says the company’s commitment to sustainability and corporate responsibility has been integrated into all facets of its operations, which has provided it with sustainable revenue...