Letter: Italy Still Committed to Exomars Program

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I am writing in reference to the article “Italy OK with Canceling ExoMars Demonstration Lander” [July 11, page 7]. The title of the article is purely a journalist’s interpretation that does not correspond to the thinking or the willingness of the Italian delegation at the European Space Agency (ESA).

From the few passages of the reporter’s interview with me reported in the text, it appears clearly that there is an incorrect and false correspondence between the title and the main interview content.

The position of the Italian delegation, as stated during the interview, has been to reaffirm Italy’s commitment to the ExoMars program, as well as its willingness to increase the contribution, according to the positions held at ESA ministerial conferences in 2008 and 2010.

During the interview, I also underlined the willingness of the Italian delegation to cover its share of the current funding, about 150 million euros, which ESA put on hold at the last Industrial Policy Committee meeting.

Also, the statement that the Italian Space Agency would be ready to accept the removal from the mission design of technological hardware, such as the entry, descent and landing package, does not correspond to the reality.

For the sake of transparency and to avoid incorrect interpretation on such an important matter, please publish this “errata corrige.”

 

Enrico Saggese

President, Italian Space Agency