European space agency officially suspends rover mission over mars following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The idea was first approved in 2005. ESA said it is impossible to work with Moscow’s space agency on the project because of continuous delays since launch.
It is known as Exo mars, the mission to send the British build mars rover to the red planet.
It had been due to launch from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, on a Russian rocket and land on Mars eight months later using Russian hardware. The entire project is now at risk because of Russia and Ukraine war crises.
The rover had only a limited time to launch to the Red Planet this year because of the alignment of the planets.
Now that this short, 10-day window has been slammed shut, Rosalind Franklin will have to wait at least 26 months to launch.
The agency said: ‘As an intergovernmental organization mandated to develop and implement space programs in full respect with European values, we deeply deplore the human casualties and tragic consequences of the aggression towards Ukraine.
‘While recognizing the impact on scientific exploration of space, ESA is fully aligned with the sanctions imposed on Russia by its member states.’
Responding to the decision, Dmitry Rogozin, director-general of Russian space agency Roscosmos, posted. To spite the Russian grandmother, the European Space Agency decided to freeze off her ears.’
Since its inception, the future of the International Space Station (ISS) has been backed by five participating space agencies – including the ESA, Roscosmos, and NASA.
There are four from the US, two from Russia, and one from Germany on the ISS.
Rogozin has said that US sanctions could ‘destroy our cooperation’ and said the research platform would plummet to the Earth without his nation’s help.
‘If you block cooperation with us, who will save the ISS from uncontrolled deorbiting and falling on the US or European territory?’ said Rogozin, noting that the station doesn’t fly over much of Russia.