ESA, Roscosmos Strike Mars Deal

Russia’s Interfax news agency reported the European Space Agency (ESA) signed a deal on Wednesday with its Russian counterpart Roscosmos to cooperate on two Mars exploration projects.

Roscosmos head Anatoli Perminov and the ESA’s Jean-Jacques Dordain inked the deal at the Maks aviation and space show outside Moscow, according to the AFP.

The ESA will use Russia’s Proton rocket as part of its Exomars project to send a robotic rover to the Mars surface and buy Russian parts for the rover’s power supply system, the AFP reported.

Also, the deal will see Russia’s Phobos-Grunt project use the ESA’s terrestrial communications facilities during its mission.  The project is sending a probe to Mars’ Phobos moon in October 2009.

ESA comprises 16 members of the European Union plus Norway and Switzerland.  Canada also takes part in some of the projects as well.

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