Mars mission gets Dutch support

The Dutch government is to put €8m into the next European Space Agency (ESA) mission to Mars, it was announced on Monday evening.

The ministries for economic affairs and for education, culture and science are making the money available, the Telegraaf reports.
The 2014 Mars mission hopes to answer the question of whether or not there is or was life on the red planet and how life on Earth was able to develop.
The money will be used to develop three scientific instruments for the mission EXOMars which is scheduled to land on Mars in 2014. The instruments will be developed up to the stage where ESA can make a decision on their inclusion on the mission. The rest of the money will go towards making one of the instruments ready for the flight, says the Telegraaf.
One of the instruments being developed for the mission, with input from TNO, is the RamanLIBS which will analyse Martian rocks for their chemical composition and minerals.
The Dutch companies Dutch Space and Lionix are working on the Life Marker Chip, a biochemical laboratory contained on a chip which will recognise and characterise biological material from the Martian soil.
The Dutch research institute SRON is working with two other companies on a highly sensitive electronic instrument to measure the effects of meteorites on Mars.

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