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NASA Signs Mars Exploration Deals With European Space Agencies

Mars PlanetNASA Administrator Charles Bolden has signed contracts with space agency executives of Spain and France for the countries to continue projects for future exploration missions to Mars.

NASA said Tuesday the agreement calls for France’s national space agency to develop the mast for the Mars 2020 rover’s SuperCam component.

SuperCam is designed to identify biosignatures in Mars and collect samples from the planet’s surface for further analysis, according to NASA.

NASA also has extended its collaboration with the National Institute for Aerospace Technology of Spain and Center for the Development of Industrial Technology of Spain to equip the Mars 2020 spacecraft, Curiosity rover and Insight Lander with new instruments such as the Temperature and Wind on Insight sensors, Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer and High Gain Antenna subsystem.

The Mars Insight Lander will be fitted with TWINS sensors by Spain and is scheduled for launch in 2016 to gather data on the planet’s core, according to NASA.

NASA said Bolden signed the agreements at the Paris Air Show with CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall; Francisco Marin Perez, CDIT director general; and Ignacio Azqueta Ortiz, INTA director general.

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