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Russia calls for international effort in manned Mars mission

April 13, 2012, 3:34 UTC+3
Sergei Savelyev said on Thursday in New York that a manned flight to Mars can be carried out only by joint effort of space powers
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Photo EPA/ITAR-TASS

Photo EPA/ITAR-TASS

NEW YORK, April 13 (Itar-Tass) —— The failure of the latest Mars mission made Russia drop its plans to independently research the Red Planet and now the national space agency Roscosmos eyes international effort in the endeavor.

Roscosmos deputy head Sergei Savelyev said on Thursday in New York that a manned flight to Mars can be carried out only by joint effort of space powers.

“Such a large-scale mission demands new technologies and means, mostly new engines, efficient protection from radiation and other factors of aggressive space environment. It is necessary to create a highly efficient life-supporting system and train people for such work,” he said.

The mission will demand time and major investments and “can be accomplished only through international cooperation. Russia is ready to cooperate in the issue with the United States, Europe, and other countries,” Savelyev said.

Russia’s inter-planetary space probe Fobos-Grunt which had to bring to the Earth samples from Mars’ satellite, was launched in November 2011 but failed to enter the expected trajectory, and on January 15 its debris splashed into the Pacific Ocean.

After the failure of the Mars mission, which devoured fifteen years and nearly five billion rubles, Roscosmos lost much of its enthusiasm about inter-planetary research. The head of Roscosmos, Vladimir Popovkin, warned against dragging the economy into a “new space race”, because the previous one, he said, caused the USSR first to go broke and eventually break up.

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