Mars is the destination in the sights of all countries involved in space research. Their intention is to colonize the Red Planet. NASA has drawn up some plans, as have Elon Musk and Russia. The European Space Agency ESA does not want to be left behind and wants to join hands with the WA space sector which has a deep space tracking center at New Norcia.

According to Perth Now, there are possibilities that ESA could pump in $60 million to the WA space sector and finalize the link with Australia. If that does materialize, then the country will have potential to expand and become a part of the global space industry.

ESA partnership could help the cause

The New Norcia facility in Australia was set up in 1998 and is one of three ESA centers in the world that is meant to track the missions of the European Space Agency. This facility is the only one which has the ability to carry out tasks associated with a deep space probe on a 24X7 basis. It had helped in the Mars Express mission of ESA when it landed the Beagle 2 rover on the surface of the red planet.

BBC reports that the Beagle 2 rover had landed on Mars in 2003 but fell silent. Later, NASA’s Curiosity rover discovered it on the Martian surface in 2014. The images transmitted back to Earth by Curiosity appeared to indicate that the spacecraft had made a safe landing and some of its solar panels had opened.

Mars is an attractive target

ESA plans to set up the facility in New Norcia by 2023 to extend support to its space weather mission. This will be in the form of a satellite to provide advance warning of atmospheric disturbances like major solar winds and flares that could hit Earth. ESA also plans to support NASA’s WFIRST space telescope which is to be launched in 2025.

It will be the biggest space telescope since Hubble.

The West Australian adds that Ukraine is interested in building a spaceport near Derby. The State Space Agency of Ukraine (SSAU) is believed to be in talks with Australia on the subject. SSAU is not a newcomer in this specialized field. It is linked to NASA’s Antares program and the European Space Agency’s Vega platform.

Mars is undoubtedly an attractive target for the United States, Europe, and Russia because the Red Planet could become a future human settlement. It has huge untapped resources of minerals whose business potentials will have to be explored. NASA has its Curiosity rover in the Gale crater and others can select their own craters to establish their bases.