The Indo-France ties seems to be growing stronger than ever. While the French President made waves in India the whole week by being the guest of honour at the country’s 67th Republic Day parade, the space agencies of both the countries signed a letter of intent stating that the two will collaborate on India’s next Mars mission.
The mission, which will be India’s second mission to the neighbouring planet is scheduled to be launched four years later in 2020. It aims to successfully send a satellite into orbit around the Red Planet.
While India’s 2020 orbiter is not going to set a lander on Mars’ surface, Jean-Yves Le Gall, the president of the French space agency, National Centre for Space Studies (CNES), believes a lander mission isn’t too far a task for the country of India.
“After India’s Mars orbiter, the next step has to be a lander. A lander on Mars is not easy, but it will be interesting to undertake,” said Gall in a statement.
As Gall mentioned in his statement, sending a lander on Mars ain’t no easy task. Only three space agencies have attempted a Mars lander in the history of deep space exploration. The three achievers are: the European Space Agency (ESA), the Soviet Space Program and NASA.
Of the three names mentioned above, NASA’s lander was the only one that was successful in functioning for longer than 15 seconds after touchdown. In fact, the Curiosity rover, its latest lander, just celebrated its 12th year anniversary of exploration on the surface.
While a lander might be a tough task at hand, but with a partner like CNES, it for sure isn’t an unachievable one. Since coming into existence from the year 1961, the agency has made helped in building technology for various big missions like ESA’s Rosetta mission to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and its Philae lander as well as the Cassini-Huygens mission etc.
All we have to say is, all the best India and France. We hope the ties are forever to stay.