'Frustration' in Europe over joint Mars probe: NASA

Nov 15, 2011
This NASA computer-generated image depicts part of Mars. The United States has failed to commit to plans for an unmanned joint Mars mission with the European space agency, causing frustration abroad, top NASA officials told lawmakers on Tuesday.

The United States has failed to commit to plans for an unmanned joint Mars mission with the European space agency, causing frustration abroad, top NASA officials told lawmakers on Tuesday.

At issue is a 2009 agreement to develop an ESA-US ExoMars Mission in 2016 and 2018 which would measure methane in the and collect rock and to eventually return to Earth for the first time.

The project has been named as a top priority flagship mission by the US National Academy of Sciences' Decadal Survey, which sets out a plan for NASA space exploration even as lawmakers bicker over details year by year.

"It can only be done, as the Decadal Survey states, if NASA is able to reduce the cost to less than 2.5 billion dollars," said Jim Green, Planetary Science Division Director at NASA before a House subcommittee.

"We recognize in this environment of -- difficult budget situation that we are in, that compromises have to be made, decisions have to be executed that are based on the Administration's priority," he added.

"Currently OMB (Office of Management and Budget) has not officially notified NASA of cancelling Mars 16 or 18. So those discussions are ongoing. Of course, we are eagerly awaiting what the ultimate priorities will be and whether we will be able to proceed."

According to Steve Squyres, chairman of the NASA Advisory Council, the budget guidelines set forth by OMB are adequate for the mission to go forward.

"To date, however, the Administration has not committed to this partnership," he said.

"The designs of the missions are being revamped so that the Decadal recommendations can be followed and yet there is no commitment being made. I am perplexed."

Asked by a lawmaker if European space colleagues were frustrated with the US failure to commit to the project, Squyres said he felt that was true.

"It has not been my perception in talking with European colleagues that they have concluded yet that we are an unreliable partner. I sense enthusiasm," he said, however adding: "I do, sir, sense frustration."

In June, NASA asked ESA to participate in a joint review to maximize resources, and the review is currently under way.

ESA, meanwhile, has asked the Russian Space Agency if it would consider participation in the Mars 2016 and 2018 missions. Roscosmos has not yet given a formal response, according to Green.

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User comments : 17

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Nik_2213
5 / 5 (6) Nov 15, 2011
After the delays building the ISS, where European and Japanese modules sat for almost a decade, 'frustration' is diplomatic-speak for spitting-furious...
omatumr
1.5 / 5 (8) Nov 15, 2011
Thanks for the story.

No one likes evidence that Western scientific, economic and social organizations are coming unraveled, but I appreciate your courage in letting the public know what is happening.

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
Former NASA Principal
Investigator for Apollo
http://myprofile....anuelo09


Nerdyguy
5 / 5 (2) Nov 15, 2011
Damn, damn, and damn! Congress and the Administration have their collective heads in the sand on space exploration.
Nerdyguy
1 / 5 (4) Nov 15, 2011
After the delays building the ISS, where European and Japanese modules sat for almost a decade, 'frustration' is diplomatic-speak for spitting-furious...


Well, the answer to that unspoken question is a "who cares?" (with conditions).

Perhaps the Japanese and Europeans might want to build their OWN space station?

Or pony up and pay for the whole thing. Oh yeah, that's right, they can't because their own economies are hurting.

Or, they can turn to the Chinese and ask to put the experiments on the Chinese station. And, that's where I become concerned. Eventually, the Chinese will open up all or part of their own station for other nations to use, and it's a sure bet that getting the Japanese or the Europeans would be a real coup for them.

I still say the U.S. was foolhardy to rebuff the Chinese after they requested some participatory status on the ISS.
CapitalismPrevails
1.5 / 5 (2) Nov 15, 2011
"The United States has failed to commit to plans for an unmanned joint Mars mission with the European space agency"

I just love these narratives. How about "The United States was unable to commit to plans for an unmanned joint Mars mission with the European Space Agency because of the lack of funds."
Vendicar_Decarian
0.3 / 5 (36) Nov 15, 2011
"Perhaps the Japanese and Europeans might want to build their OWN space station?" - NerdGuy

China is doing just that.

It is a shame that the ISS is such a spectacular American Failure due to budget cuts.

And now we have the U.S. failing to fulfill it's commitments again due to financial problems.

And this is just the tip of the ice berg for debt ridden America.

Vendicar_Decarian
0.2 / 5 (36) Nov 15, 2011
"I just love these narratives." - CapitalismFails

I do too. Particularly when they are right on the money, as this one is.
Vendicar_Decarian
0.2 / 5 (35) Nov 15, 2011
"Congress and the Administration have their collective heads in the sand on space exploration." - NerdGuy

America can't afford space, and the world can no longer afford to carry the dead beat American nation.
Chase_O_
1 / 5 (1) Nov 15, 2011
I love leading questions... Did you sense ANY frustration??? Well everyone was pretty enthusiastic... but yea i guess there's always a LITTLE...... BAM! We've got ourselves an article.
hush1
not rated yet Nov 16, 2011
There's that throw away mentality America taught the rest of world so well.


A Student who does not surpass his Master fails.
Rest assured. America taught the world too well.
Be proud.

Nerdyguy
2.3 / 5 (3) Nov 16, 2011
"Perhaps the Japanese and Europeans might want to build their OWN space station?" - NerdGuy

China is doing just that.

It is a shame that the ISS is such a spectacular American Failure due to budget cuts.

And now we have the U.S. failing to fulfill it's commitments again due to financial problems.

And this is just the tip of the ice berg for debt ridden America.



Does your ignorance know no bounds?

Of course, I mentioned China in my post. Thanks for pointing it out again.

But, to call the ISS a "spectacular American Failure". You, sir, are sadly only showing your usual lack of foresight and desperate pathological need to be a school-yard bully. Shame on you.
Nerdyguy
3 / 5 (4) Nov 16, 2011
There's that throw away mentality America taught the rest of world so well.


A Student who does not surpass his Master fails.
Rest assured. America taught the world too well.
Be proud.



More of your usual hippy bs. What, precisely, is the throw-away part you are referring to?

Oh, and just for the fun of it, do you believe that in modern technological societies, a throw-away mentality is something that is inherently American? As well, do you really suppose that we needed to "teach" that to anyone? For example, do you suppose the Chinese were just going along on their merry way towards socialist utopian nirvana when WHAM! they woke up one day, saw America's success with what you ludicrously call a "throw away" mentality, and then just flipped a switch and became just like us?

This should be interesting.
hush1
not rated yet Nov 16, 2011
You speak for yourself - that's boring enough.
Shootist
3 / 5 (2) Nov 16, 2011
If the boffins in the EU expect Obama to do anything other than usher in national Socialism, they have a real surprise at hand.
Nerdyguy
3 / 5 (2) Nov 16, 2011
"Congress and the Administration have their collective heads in the sand on space exploration." - NerdGuy

America can't afford space, and the world can no longer afford to carry the dead beat American nation.


To the contrary you silly boy. As both our own economy and that of the world improves, we will be seeing an uptick in space exploration.

And, btw, we've carried so much of the world for so long, why couldn't they carry us for awhile? Not that that is the case. But it would be nice.

Any idea what our foreign aid handouts amount to?
Nerdyguy
not rated yet Nov 16, 2011
You speak for yourself - that's boring enough.


Yes, a retort for the ages!

Actually, I'm a bit surprised, as I would expect something wittier from you. A little poetry perhaps? Oh, well. BTW, did you happen to notice how you avoided responding to my questions? Very sly. The old, "I'll be witty and maybe they won't notice I don't have an answer" answer.
Mezrael
5 / 5 (2) Nov 19, 2011
America can't afford space, and the world can no longer afford to carry the dead beat American nation.


Dead beat American Nation??.. More Anti-American Rhetoric from Vendicar_Decarian. This site is not a place for you to spout your political BS. This American dislikes you very much :-)