Years ago, even back to the time of the Apollo missions, the United States and Russia were competing in a space exploration race. As time has past, other countries in Europe and Asia have developed space programs of their own.
With today's shrinking space science budgets, it has become increasingly clear that it will be difficult for any one country to take planetary science solely upon themselves. Rather, international efforts will allow researchers to take the most advantage of each spacecraft that is launched. Mars Together, an international space exploration program, is an example of such an effort.
This 1998 unmanned mission to Mars will be the first flight traveling to Mars that will incorporate large spacecraft elements from participants around the world. This flight will save costs while providing an international Mars journey. There are flights to Mars, which are under the direction of the US or Russia, where another country has added an experiment or instrument, but in these cases they are combining mission elements traditionally controlled by a single country.
- The Mars Together program will involve an international orbiter, including one similar to the Mars 96 orbiter and the Mars Global Surveyor.
- A Russian Rover, Lavochkin, will be carried on the 1998 flight. Attached to it will be a McDonnell Douglas manipulator arm and a JPL mini-rover.
- A French low-altitude balloon system will be sent to the surface with the rovers.
- German and Italian science instruments were proposed.
Related Web sites
- Mars Together Conference Announcement - Last year's Mars Together conference