In what may be a massive move forward toward Mars, the European Space Agency's backers have just made a big decision.
Our future on the Red Planet was thrown into doubt after the catastrophic failure of the European Space Agency’s Schiaparelli lander, but backers of ESA have just bet big on the Mars program, and have approved 450 million euros for the ExoMars mission in 2020. It’s a major vote of confidence for a program after the devastating crash that saw the Schiaparelli probe crash into the Red Planet after a software glitch caused it to think it was much closer to the surface than it was.
But ESA member states clearly aren’t deterred, and have funded the ExoMars mission as well as other missions relating to the International Space Station. ESA will be sending a rover to Mars in 2020 to search for life, and the Schiaparelli probe was supposed to be an important stepping stone toward that. The crash of the spacecraft will make ExoMars a much more delicate and risky operation.
Experts are confident in the fundamentals of the program despite the failure, and nobody wants to see a delay, hence the full funding for the program.