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Europe’s Mars Rover delayed… again…

The launch of Europe’s “troubled” Mars rover – ExoMars – has already been postponed once, from 2011 to 2013, and now, because of very serious funding problems, it has been pushed back again, from 2013 to no earlier than 2016. Many space commentators – and space enthusiasts – are now becoming convinced, reluctantly, that ExoMars will never actually fly to the Red Planet, and will either be scaled down to a European version of one of the MERs or even cancelled altogether.

I mean, I’m a huge Mars fan(atic), and I would love nothing more than to see ExoMars go to the Red Planet and actually find life as it is designed to do. But I don’t know… this whole project just seems to have a cloud hanging over it, and a real lack of momentum and public visibility, almost as if it’s being developed in secret, being built in a shed or a garage somewhere. I know that’s not the case, and I know that the people working on it are all hugely serious and 10000% committed to the mission, but it has no profile, and as it has no profile it has no public interest or support, and of course without that then the politicians who pay for these things are not going to see any votes in it. 😦

Maybe ESA can get financial support from somewhere else… America or Russia, or maybe even China… we’ll have to wait and see what happens.

You can read the full story here on the BBC’s SciTech news site.

(And before anyone says anything, I know that’s the OLD rover design on my picture. The new design is very different… I just still like the old design! 😉  )