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Europe's Mars rover slips to 2018
Europe's flagship robotic rover mission to Mars now looks certain to leave Earth in 2018, two years later than recently proposed.

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The US and European space agencies are to discuss the potential for mounting joint missions to Mars during a summit underway in Plymouth, UK.
Nasa's science chief Ed Weiler told BBC News that co-operation made sense given the agencies' shared science goals and the growing expense of such ventures.
America is now likely to play a major role in Europe's 2016 ExoMars mission.

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Europe's Mars mission scaled back
A major component of Europe's ExoMars rover mission is being dropped to contain costs.
The Exomars venture will launch a rover to the Red Planet in 2016, to search for signs of past or present life.
It was hoped a static science payload called Humboldt could also be put on the surface to study the weather and, for example, listen for "Marsquakes".
But agency officials announced at the Paris air show that financial constraints now made this impossible.

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A chemical process initially developed to study the biological environment on Mars could be used on Earth to help extract oil from tar sands.
The method, developed by researchers at Imperial College London, involves using extraction-helping materials called surfactants.
Imperial Earth science engineer Mark Sephton, one of the developers, said these surfactants were originally designed for use on ExoMars, Europe's next robotic mission with NASA in 2018, to liberate organic matter from rock on Mars.


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Techniques and instrumentation initially developed for ExoMars - Europe's next robotic mission to Mars in 2016 - but now due to fly on a NASA mission in 2018, could also provide the answers to the globally pressing issue of energy supply.
A major study by the Imperial College London, funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), aims to use this new technology as an inexpensive and efficient way to help process unconventional energy resources, potentially having an enormous impact on the UK and global economy.

"The research involves using extraction-helping materials, called surfactants, to liberate organic matter from rock in space to gain a deeper understanding into the biological environment on Mars. We aim to show that the same technique could also be used to recycle the prodigious amounts of water necessary to process tar sand deposits and turn them into conventional petroleum" - Professor Mark Sephton from the Imperial Department of Earth Science and Engineering.

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Europe is delaying its flagship space mission to Mars by more than two years.
The ExoMars rover, which will search for signs of life on the Red Planet, will not now launch until 2016 because of the high cost of the project.
The 1.2bn-euro price tag is deemed to be too high by governments, and space officials have been asked to find ways to reduce it.

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Mars robots begin test campaign
UK engineers put the latest prototypes for a European Mars rover through their paces

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Has a wheel just come off Britain's participation in the biggest European space mission of the next decade?
Funding for UK-led experiments on the ExoMars rover and lander is to be cut by 25% in their key development phase.

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The wheels continue to turn on Europe's billion-euro project to put a robotic rover on the surface of the Red Planet.
Engineers working towards the flagship ExoMars mission have unveiled a sophisticated new vehicle prototype.
The demonstrator will test a possible suspension and locomotion set-up to be built into the final rover design.

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A new life-detecting instrument is preparing for a mission to the Red Planet. The Urey: Mars Organic and Oxidant Detector instrument, developed by a scientist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, received approximately $2 million in NASA funding to further refine the design and technology for the European Space Agency's (ESA) 2013 ExoMars Rover Mission.
Named after the late Nobel Laureate and UC San Diego scholar Harold C. Urey, the Urey instrument will perform the first search for key classes of organic molecules in the Martian environment using state-of-the-art analytical methods at part-per-million sensitivities. This highly sensitive instrument is the first with the capability to effectively discriminate between Martian materials produced by biological and non-biological processes. In addition, the investigation will provide definitive oxidation characteristics of those same samples.

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