The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and India's space agency Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) have signed an agreement for its future explorations of Mars and Earth.
Charles Bolden, NASA's Administrator, and K. Radhakrishnan, ISRO's Chairman, signed two documents at the 65th International Astronautical Congress meeting held in Toronto, Canada.
The two parties signed a charter, which forms a NASA-ISRO Mars Working Group. The group will work towards greater co-operation between India and the U.S. in the exploration of the Red Planet. Both NASA and ISRO also confirmed their engagement to work on the NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) mission, which is targeted for a 2020 launch.
"The signing of these two documents reflects the strong commitment NASA and ISRO have to advancing science and improving life on Earth," says Bolden. "This partnership will yield tangible benefits to both our countries and the world."
The Mars Working Group is expected to recognize and implement programmatic, technological and scientific goals that the space agencies share in common with regards to the exploration of Mars. Representatives from NASA and ISRO will meet on an annual basis to co-operate activities as well as develop plans for future space missions.
Currently, there are only a handful of space agencies across the world that have successfully launched Mars orbiters. NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) entered Mars orbit on Sept. 21 and the orbiter will explore the atmosphere of the Red Planet. India's first spacecraft to the planet Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), also referred to as the Mangalyaan, arrived in Mars orbit on Sept. 23. The Mangalyaan will also explore and study the atmosphere and surface of Mars.
Apart from ISRO and NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) is the only one to have launched a spacecraft called Mars Express, which is orbiting the Red Planet.
NASA revealed that one of the key aims of the Mars Working Group is to make coordinated observation and analysis between MOM and MAVEN.
NASA also revealed that the NISAR mission will use S-band and L-band radar frequencies to measure any changes in the surface of the Earth. The mission will be one of a kind to use two different frequencies, which is expected to observe climate changes on the planet such as glacier's flow rate, volcanoes and earthquakes.
Mars has attracted space enthusiasts in the last few decades. Mars missions have revealed a lot about the planet's atmosphere and the Martian surface. A joint effort from NASA and ISRO may reveal even more details about the planet unknown to the humans.