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India and France in Talks on Venus and Mars Exploration

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emanuel Macron. Photograph courtesy of the Press Trust of India (PTI).

Following quickly on the heels of their expansive space cooperation agreement signed last month, India and France are moving forward by holding detailed talks about building and sending interplanetary probes to Mars and Venus in the coming years.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the French National Space Agency, the Centre national d’études spatiales (CNES), agreed in March 2018 to work together on autonomous navigation of rovers on the Moon, Mars and other planets, as well as aero braking technologies for planetary exploration. a French source said.

According to a report in The Economic Times, the ISRO has confirmed that Venus is a priority because it is “under-explored compared to Mars,” and a CNES official said that discussions also continue for a future Indian mission to Mars.

India has already undertaken two successful inter-planetary missions, Chandrayaan-I to the Moon and Mangalayaan to Mars. Another mission for Moon exploration, Chandrayaan-II, is likely soon, through which a rover would be landed on Earth’s only natural satellite. ISRO also has plans to send another mission to Mars and Venus.

CNES could also provide support to ISRO for the navigation of future Moon rovers while the two will jointly work on the models to study Mars and Venus atmospheres, the CNES official said.

Indo-French cooperation is very robust in nature and is more than six decades old.

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