EUROPEAN and Russian scientists working together on a mission to find signs of life on Mars will NOT stop despite the invasion of Ukraine.
Experts from both sides are planning to send a rover to the Red Planet in September, which could reveal whether anything lived there billions of years ago.
However, Russia has been hit by US sanctions aimed at degrading their space programme because of its attack on neighbouring Ukraine.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also said he finds it "hard" to see how scientific collaboration can continue as normal under the current circumstances.
But a leading scientist working on the upcoming Rosalind Franklin launch told The Sun it's "business as usual".
"From my point of view, science transcends politics," said Professor Andrew Coates from University College London.
"It's a very difficult and regrettable situation at the moment on the ground of course but in space we have very good working relationships with our Russian colleagues and that's continuing and we're pushing full steam ahead for launch in September."
The rover, named after English DNA pioneer Rosalind Franklin, has already been delayed from its original planned date in 2020.
Most read in News Tech
WHAT IS IT?
Space sleuths can't work out what weird 'bowling pin' object is on Mars
WHAT IS IT?
Russian space chief threatens to allow ISS to FALL onto US or Europe
WhatsApp is finally getting a huge feature that's been on Facebook for years
China says its NOT responsible for mystery rogue rocket set to hit the Moon
Professor Coates, who has led on building the mission's 'eye', says it's "vital" the plan isn't changed.
"We've been waiting a long time to be able to launch this – we wrote the proposal back in 2003," he said.
If successful, the mission will drill two meters underground for biomarkers, the furthest we've dug ever into Mars.
This should reveal whether life existed on the planet some 3.8billion years ago.
And it could be the first time we discover signs of life anywhere else in the universe other than Earth.
If all stays on track and the launch goes ahead without any issues, the rover should arrive on Mars by June next year.
It'll launch from Kazakhstan in September on a Russian rocket.
On Friday, European Space Agency boss Josef Aschbacher said civil space cooperation "remains a bridge".
"ESA continues to work on all of its programmes, including on ISS & ExoMars launch campaign, in order to honour commitments with Member States & partners," he tweeted.
"We continue to monitor the evolving situation."
In other news, people are increasingly unable to tell apart fake faces made by AI and real ones, new research suggests.
Websites could crash in a couple of months if owners fail to make major change ahead of Chrome, Edge and Firefox 'version 100' update.
Uber has revealed the worst and best cities for passenger ratings.
And the naughtiest ever emoji combinations to be careful of have been revealed.
We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online Tech & Science team? Email us at [email protected]
Source: Read Full Article