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dpa-AFX: U.S.-India Joint Venture To Explore Mars

| Quelle: dpa-AFX Analysen
NEW DELHI (dpa-AFX) - The space agencies of the United States and India have agreed to launch a satellite mission to observe Earth and establish a pathway for future joint missions to explore Mars. In a meeting Tuesday in Toronto, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) chairman K. Radhakrishnan signed two documents for the joint venture. While attending the International Astronautical Congress, the two space agency leaders met 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 international agreement that defines how the two agencies will work together on the NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) mission, targeted to launch in 2020. 'This partnership will yield tangible benefits to both our countries and the world,' according to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. 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. The important agreement comes shortly after both the countries successfully sent explorer spacecraft to the Red Planet. NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) spacecraft entered Mars orbit on September 21. MAVEN is the first spacecraft dedicated to exploring the tenuous upper atmosphere of Mars. ISRO's Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), also called Mangalyaan, followed suit two days later. India's first spacecraft launched to Mars, MOM will study the Martian surface and atmosphere and demonstrate technologies needed for interplanetary missions. 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. The NISAR mission is optimized to measure subtle changes of the Earth's surface associated with motions of the crust and ice surfaces. NISAR is expected to improve the understanding of key impacts of climate change and advance the knowledge of natural hazards. NISAR will be the first satellite mission to use two different radar frequencies (L-band and S-band) to measure changes in earth's surface less than a centimeter across. This allows the mission to observe a wide range of changes, from the flow rates of glaciers and ice sheets, to the dynamics of earthquakes and volcanoes. Under the terms of the new agreement, NASA will provide the mission's L-band synthetic aperture radar (SAR), a high-rate communication subsystem for science data, GPS receivers, a solid state recorder, and a payload data subsystem. ISRO will provide the spacecraft bus, an S-band SAR, and the launch vehicle and associated launch services. NASA and ISRO have been cooperating under the terms of a framework agreement signed in 2008. Copyright RTT News/dpa-AFX
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