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ESA begins Aurora mission studies
Posted: Mon, Oct 14, 2002, 8:05 AM ET (1205 GMT)
ESA Aurora Mars illustration The European Space Agency has approved plans to begin studies of several missions that will part of an effort to develop technologies for future human exploration of space. Under the Aurora program, ESA will begin studies of two flagship missions and two smaller "Arrow" missions. One flagship mission will be Exo-Mars, a Mars orbiter and lander/rover, while the other is a Mars sample return mission. Two components of a Mars sample return mission, Mars aerocapture and a Earth reentry capsule, will be tested as smaller Arrow missions. The missions are part of a long-term effort to develop the technology and infrastructure and technology for human exploration of the Moon and Mars. Aurora foresees a human return to the Moon in 2020-2025 and a human mission to Mars in 2025-2030. Aurora is funded for 14.1 million euros (US$13.9 million) over three years.
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