Going to Mars Together

From the “this makes complete sense” department: NASA and ESA have established an initiative to make future explorations of Mars a joint venture. The ESA Director of Science and Robotic Exploration, David Southwood, met with NASA’s Associate Administrator for Science, Ed Weiler at the end of June and created the Mars Exploration Joint Initiative (MEJI) that will provide a framework for the two agencies to define and implement their scientific, programmatic and technological goals at Mars. The initiative includes launch opportunities in 2016, 2018 and 2020, with landers and orbiters conducting astrobiological, geological, geophysical and other high-priority investigations, leading up to a sample return mission in the 2020s.

Both NASA and ESA have been reassessing their Mars exploration programs, and Weiller revealed at a press conference last year (when it was announced that the Mars Science Laboratory would be delayed) that NASA and ESA would seek to work together. But now it is official.

The two space agencies will be working together to plan future missions. A joint architecture review team will be established to assist the agencies in planning the mission portfolios. As plans develop, they will be reviewed by ESA member states for approval and by the US National Academy of Sciences.

Source: ESA

11 Replies to “Going to Mars Together”

  1. It’s been THIS (^) ESA memberstate citizen’s mantra for years: “Space Agencies of the World, do it together!”

  2. This ESA member state citizen will agree to anything that gets humanity a step closer to stepping on Mars. 🙂

  3. This ESA member state citizen is all for space travel and space exploration (including robotic missions!!). And he is for doing it together and not against anyone. The whole world could unite for the first time! What a dream!

  4. This ESA member state citizen says: What the bloody hell took those guys so long?!

  5. Ha! An ad Scientology just popped up on this page for me!! I think you’ve come to the wrong place to advertise guys 🙂

    (Yes, I know this is automatically placed by Google and I’m not complaining about the ads – merely noting the amusing irony of targeted advertising missing the mark by just about as far as you can get.)

    And in reference to the article – about damn time NASA and the ESA stopped trying to one-up each other and started some more serious collaboration!

  6. Another ESA member citizen welcomes our galactic collaborative space agency overlord. From co-evolution to co-operation, a change in pace (and economy!) if not in scope.

    And yes, why not try to invite the rest – Russia, China, Japan, India, et cetera. I’m sure one can get the best out of ‘many worlds’ by cooperation on some projects (basic exploration, rules, standards, resources and settlements) and competition on others (strategic exploration and exploitation).

    On that matter, I’m still pissed that China wasn’t allowed into ISS, then and now, for reasons “on the ground”. Why the inability to separate out large scale politics and “small scale” collaborations? It is childish, morally arguable (making the ends justify the means), not very helpful in any case AFAIU and certainly destabilizing.

  7. @ Torbjorn Larsson OM

    Indeed. When I first heard and saw that there was a docking between an Apollo capsule and a Soyuz capsule in the 70ies, I couldn’t believe it.
    It was probably just a “small step”, but every way you go begins with the first step (isn’t it a Chinese saying?).
    We should invite them!

  8. As an American taxpayer (and NASA supporter), I too heartily agree with the sentiments of others posting here as to cooperation between national space agencies ( especially Larsson’s & Flimmer’s July 9th posts ). The concept just makes sense!

  9. The more the merrier? Think not!
    Better not make it an other civil service nightmare! Keep it small, NASA & ESA just about right! Both capable to get things done.
    If you see how well the UN functions?
    We need results for our TAX money not an
    other disfunctional organization?

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