Europe’s future in space was recently discussed at the European Space Agency’s (ESA’s) space summit held in Lucerne, Switzerland. The agency’s 22 member states spend 48 hours debating this one subject.
The focus of this discussion was the ExoMars project and the International Space Station. The ExoMars project constitutes a two-part Martian astrobiology project to search for evidence of life on Mars, a joint mission of the ESA and the Russian space agency Roscosmos.
The ExoMars project has emerged a winner, with Italy, the UK and France raising their financial stakes in order to finance its competition, and thereby guaranteeing the 2020 rover mission to take place.
That decision was reinforced by a series of new high resolution images of Mars that were taken by the ExoMars TGO spacecraft.
The other major space project in need of cash in Lucerne was the International Space Station. ESA struck a deal to finance it until 2024, but big questions remain about when it will be replaced, and with what.