US & India To Collaborate On Earth Observation & Mars Exploration

NASA and the Indian Space Research Organization will work together on future space missions according to agreements struck between the two agencies during the International Astronautical Congress, officials announced on Tuesday.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and ISRO Chairman K. Radhakrishnan signed a charter establishing a NASA-ISRO Mars Working Group with the aim of expanding cooperation between the two agencies in Mars exploration. The announcement comes just one week after the ISRO became the fourth space agency to reach Mars, making India the first country to successfully reach Mars on its first attempt.

The two space agencies will look for ways coordinate science observations between India’s Mars Orbiter Mission and NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution spacecraft, which arrived at the Red Planet just two days apart. They will also look into the potential for collaboration on future Mars missions.

The two space agency leaders also signed an international agreement to work together on the NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar mission, or NISAR for short, that is expected to launch in 2020. NISAR is an Earth-observing mission that will study subtle land surface changes using two different frequencies of radar.

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