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Why the European Space Agency Cut Ties With Russia on Their Mars Rover Mission

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The Russians and the Europeans have been working together on the ExoMars mission to send rovers to Mars in 2016 and 2018, but now the European Space Agency has cut ties with Russia over Ukraine and Crimea, meaning that the Russian-made engines will not be used on the new rockets. This announcement was made by ESA Director General Jan Woerner at this week’s opening of the world’s largest space conference, which took place in Canada. After the announcement, two senior Russian officials spoke out against this decision.


What was the Russian spacecraft doing?

The Russian spacecraft was supposed to be a part of the European Space Agency's (ESA) ExoMars mission, which would have sent a rover to Mars to search for signs of life. However, due to recent events, ESA has cut ties with Russia and will no longer be working with them on this project. The decision came after Moscow did not allow three Ukrainian ships to pass through the Kerch Strait into Mariupol because they were carrying dangerous cargo. This is in violation of international maritime law. The blockade stopped food and water from reaching eastern Ukraine, which is an area that is currently experiencing an economic crisis. A court in Kiev ordered Russia to open up passage for these ships but they ignored it.

While Russia’s behavior may seem egregious, it’s actually not new or surprising; there are many examples over the years where Moscow has imposed its authority over sovereign states using military force or political manipulation. The standoff between Russia and Ukraine began back in 2013 when Viktor Yanukovych, who was then president of Ukraine, refused to sign an agreement with the EU. Instead he opted for closer ties with Russia by joining their Eurasian Union trade bloc. These actions caused Ukrainians to protest en masse against Yanukovych, who then responded by ordering riot police to attack protesters resulting in many deaths. These protests became known as Euromaidan and led to Yanukovych fleeing office. In response Putin annexed Crimea from Ukraine after arguing that it belonged historically within his country’s borders- another example of how Russia often imposes its own power over other countries using military might.


Where did it go wrong?

The European Space Agency's decision to cut ties with Russia on their Mars rover mission came as a surprise to many. But upon further inspection, it seems like this was a long time coming. In 2014, NASA pulled out of an agreement with the Russian space agency Roscosmos over conflict in Ukraine. Now that Crimea has been annexed by Russia and eastern Ukraine is still engaged in violent conflict, Roscosmos and ESA have also grown apart over more than just politics. Both agencies have tried to cooperate without success for years and even signed a contract in 2012 for scientific cooperation on Mars exploration missions that would include joint missions to explore and study the Martian surface from orbit - but now it doesn't seem likely that will happen any time soon. We are not giving up, said Roberto Battiston, president of Italy's ASI space agency. It will be much more difficult for us to do things alone.

Battiston's statement reflects what some experts think about the EASA/Roscosmos break-up: that it is largely political because both sides are eager to assert themselves against one another rather than simply science or cooperation.


Will there be any repercussions from this fiasco?

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The European Space Agency (ESA) has cut ties with Russia on their joint Mars rover mission, citing concerns over recent tensions between the two countries. This move could have major repercussions for both space agencies, as well as for international cooperation in general. It is unclear whether or not ESA will find a replacement partner to help fund and develop the 2020 ExoMars rover by its launch date next year. It is possible that they will turn to NASA, but if they do so it would be more complicated than an equal partnership because of the sanctions imposed by Washington and Brussels against Moscow following its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine last year. In addition, American law prohibits NASA from collaborating with any Russian entity due to a congressional bill passed last year that bans cooperation in any area of technology that poses national security risks. And it may not be just Europe who feels affected by this decision - China's government-run Xinhua news agency reported today that Beijing is considering suspending military and security collaborations with Moscow in light of Western sanctions.


Is this an isolated incident or part of a bigger problem?

The European Space Agency's decision to cut ties with Russia on their upcoming Mars rover mission is part of a larger problem between the two countries. The disagreement stems from Russia's annexation of Crimea, which the ESA considers to be a part of Ukraine. This conflict has led to sanctions being placed on Russia by the ESA, which has in turn led to Russian scientists being banned from attending ESA meetings and conferences. The Mars rover mission was Collaboration between the ESA and Roscosmos, Russia's space agency, but after the annexation, the ESA decided to go ahead with the mission without Russian involvement. This is just one example of how the conflict between Russia and Ukraine is affecting scientific cooperation between the two countries. The issues surrounding the situation are complex, involving economic sanctions and international law. However, it seems that many international organizations are following suit with the ESA's move to exclude Russia from collaboration on research projects due to the conflict in Crimea.


Why does it matter to me and what can I do about it?

The European Space Agency's decision to cut ties with Russia on their Mars rover mission may seem like it doesn't affect you, but it actually does. Here's why:

The European Space Agency is responsible for a lot of space exploration and research. They are involved in many international projects, including the Mars rover mission.

The agency's decision to cut ties with Russia means that they are no longer working together on this project. This could have a big impact on the success of the mission.

There are a few reasons why the agency decided to cut ties with Russia. One reason is that Russia has been facing some political unrest recently. This has made it difficult for the agency to trust them with such an important project.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Hasnain Qazi

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