Russia will start work on its own mission to Mars, Interfax news agency reported, as the European Space Agency (ESA) halted a joint project after Russian forces invaded Ukraine.
The European Space Agency announced on Thursday that it would be impossible to continue cooperation with Russia on the ExoMars mission. A Russian rocket will transport a European-made space exploration vehicle to Mars this year.
“In the very near future, we will begin work on a mission to Mars,” said Dmitry Rogozin, head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos.
According to Interfax, he stated that he did not think that a space exploration vehicle would be necessary, since the current Russian probe designed to carry the craft would be able to carry out the necessary scientific work.
Rogozin said there were “high doubts” about what the ESA could do without Russia, which already has a missile, launch site and lander. He said the ESA would need at least six years to develop its own module.
In response to Western sanctions against Russia, Roscosmos suspended cooperation with Europe on space launches and announced that it would not supply rocket engines to the United States.
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