Just a month after their costly module crashed onto the surface of Mars, the European Space Agency (ESA) asked member nations to provide an additional $425 million dollars to complete the ExoMars mission.
ExoMars (Exobiology on Mars) is a two-part multi-year Martian astrobiology life searching project and joint mission of the European Space Agency (ESA) and Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos). The first part of the mission was executed in October when the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) successfully entered orbit around Mars.
However, ESA lost contact with its Schiaparelli lander shortly before it was supposed to land on Mars and it has later been confirmed that the 577 kg heavy module crashed onto the surface.
The next step of this two-part project is scheduled for 2020 when a surface rover will be placed on the surface of Mars.
However, to complete the mission, ESA needs "a bit over 400 million euros (roughly around $425 million dollars) for the project, which includes all the technical work needed to take the vehicle up to the launch phase", said David Parker, the ESA's Director of Human Spaceflight and Robotic Exploration.
Ministers from 23 countries that support the European space program, including Canada, will decide whether they will cover the extra costs at their next meeting, which will be held in Switzerland next week.
Earlier this month, ESA president Jan Woerner warned that the ExoMars project, which costs were earlier estimated at $1.6 billion, will need a several hundred million extra in order to finish the mission.