The space agencies of India and France are discussing about working jointly and enhance space cooperation for inter-planetary missions to neighbouring planets – Mars and Venus.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and French National Space Agency (CNES) has been talking about partnering up to work on interplanetary space missions to Mars and Venus. This move comes just in almost a month since the two countries had agreed and signed a joint statement to improve space research cooperation. During a recent meet-up, ISRO and CNES have decided to work together on autonomous navigation of rovers on Moon, Mars and other planets, and aero braking technologies for planetary exploration.

India has already conducted two successful inter-planetary missions – Chandrayaan-1 to the moon and Manglayaan to Mars. Also, ISRO is currently working on the maiden lunar exploration expedition Chandrayaan-2, through which a rover would be landed on Moon. With wide experience in space research, India looks forward to sending out probes to other planets like Mars and Venus and study the atmosphere of these planets. For ISRO, Venus is the priority launch as the neighbouring planet is under-explored compared to Mars – hence, an interplanetary mission to Venus can be the next big thing ISRO would be working on.

It is not that no probes have been sent towards Venus – in fact, more than two dozen missions have been undertaken, but somehow Venus has remained an enigmatic mystery. Maybe, if ISRO and CNES joins hand, they can solve the mystery of the perpetual cloud cover of Venus, which makes it so different from Earth. Having French CNES as partner, it will 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. CNES can also involve in definition of the scientific goals and preparatory studies for the future planetary missions of ISRO and both agencies will study the possibility of embarking French science instruments on board the future interplanetary Indian missions.

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