The European Space Agency (ESA) also supports the expansion of the International Space Station, but the ambitious mission to reject asteroids had to be postponed.
ESA continues to develop a sophisticated rover to search for life on Mars, despite a two-year launch delay and the October accident of its predecessor. Speaking to reporters at the conclusion of the two-day meeting in Lucerne (Switzerland), ESA Director General Jan Werner also noted that the agency will remain a partner of the ISS program, at least until 2024.
In general, ESA plans to spend about $ 11 billion a year on space science, rockets, technology development, Earth observation and other programs. For comparison, the annual budget of NASA is approximately $ 19 billion.
ESA and its 22 partner countries will pay an additional $ 500 million for the ExoMars rover, which will miss the initial launch date in 2018 due to technical problems. Finishing work on the mechanism before launch in 2020 is a difficult task. But Werner noted that it is impossible to draw more, since the apparatus necessary for feedback with Earth is already in orbit. The program, which did not pass the test, became the Asteroid Impact Mission (AIM), which was part of a NASA project to test the technologies necessary to combat dangerous asteroids.
ESA member States refused to collect the requested funds for the program. But Werner said that they will make common efforts for the development of space technology, and perhaps this question will be reconsidered.
“We will not stop in search of remedies for our planet. After all, Bruce Willis will not always be able to come to the rescue, ”said Werner, referring to the 1998 film“ Armageddon ”, in which the astronaut team is sent to an asteroid.
NASA did not comment on how the removal of AIM will affect their plans.
Werner will get a full picture of the situation next week during the final official visit with NASA administrator Charlie Bolden, who resigns next month. He also said that it is too early to talk about what kind of assistance is to be expected from the Trump administration, but “I hope that we will continue our fruitful cooperation.”