U.S., India to collaborate on Mars exploration, Earth-observing mission

  • 23-Oct-2014 10:47 EDT

An artist's concept of NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) mission is shown. Launched in November 2013, the mission will explore the red planet’s upper atmosphere, ionosphere, and interactions with the sun and solar wind.

While attending the International Astronautical Congress, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and K. Radhakrishnan, Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). met Sept. 30 to discuss and sign a charter that establishes a NASA-ISRO Mars Working Group to investigate enhanced cooperation between the two countries in Mars exploration. They also signed an agreement that defines how the two agencies will work together on the NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) mission, targeted to launch in 2020. The joint Mars Working Group will seek to identify and implement scientific, programmatic, and technological goals that NASA and ISRO have in common regarding Mars exploration. The group will meet once a year to plan cooperative activities, including potential NASA-ISRO cooperation on future missions to Mars. Both agencies have newly arrived spacecraft in Mars orbit—NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) spacecraft and ISRO's Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM). One of the working group's objectives will be to explore potential coordinated observations and science analysis between MAVEN and MOM, as well as other current and future Mars missions. The joint NISAR Earth-observing mission will make global measurements of the causes and consequences of land surface changes. Potential areas of research include ecosystem disturbances, ice sheet collapse, and natural hazards.

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