Sending complex pieces of machinery to faraway celestial objects? Not an easy thing. The European Space Agency is well aware of what can go wrong, especially after the demise of Schiaparelli lander when it stacked into Mars earlier this year. No sweat, says the ESA, which will continue on with its ExoMars 2020 mission... flush with cash.
"Flush" is an understatement. The ESA Council — the organisation's governing body, comprised Slovenia, Canada and 22 member states — yesterday earmarked €10.3 ($14.7) billion for "space activities and programmes".
This includes the ESA's 2020 Mars mission, which "will deliver a European rover and a Russian surface platform to the surface of Mars".
Sure, Schiaparelli was a setback, but given what the ESA is trying to achieve, you have to expect a few failures on the way. Hopefully the organisation's future missions are more bountiful.