Another Russian Casualty: Mars

Source/Credit: The Exomars rover from the ESA.

Yesterday, the European Space Agency (ESA) announced that another space program has been impacted by the Russia’s invasion of Ukraine:

Regarding the ExoMars programme continuation, the sanctions and the wider context make a launch in 2022 very unlikely. ESA’s Director General will analyse all the options and prepare a formal decision on the way forward by ESA Member States.

The ESA website on the Exomars program notes that it is a two part mission searching for life on Mars: the Trace Gas Orbiter launched in 2016 and the Exomars rover and surface platform planned for launch in 2022. NASA also contributed to this latest mission:

NASA’s participation in the 2022 ExoMars Rover mission includes providing critical elements to the premier astrobiology instrument on the rover, the Mars Organic Molecule Analyzer (MOMA). By studying organic molecules, the chemical building blocks of life, MOMA is designed to help answer questions about whether life ever existed on Mars, along with its potential origin, evolution and distribution on the Red Planet.

The list of impacted space missions will only grow.