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Europe’s first Mars rover gets funding — despite crash of test craft

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The European Space Agency (ESA) has secured the €436 million ($464 million) that it needs to land its first rover on Mars — despite rising costs and the failure of its Mars lander, Schiaparelli, in October.

“After the many challenging, difficult and rewarding moments of 2016, this is a great relief and a fine result for European space exploration,” says Don McCoy, ESA’s project manager for the overall mission that includes the rover, called ExoMars.

ExoMars 2020, a joint Mars rover mission with the Russian space agency Roscosmos that will launch in 2020, had already been delayed from a planned launch in 2018 — a major cause of the cost increase — and its future looked on shakier ground following the failure of Schiaparelli, which was designed to test Europe’s ability to land a craft on the red planet, as part of the ExoMars project. – READ MORE

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