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European Space Agency wants astronaut on Mars before 2040

ESA, the European Space Agency, wants to send a European to Mars before 2040. In a strategy paper, the Paris-based agency says Europe will be part of the first manned mission to Mars, in cooperation with other agencies.

Unmanned exploration of the Red Planet is to be stepped up as part of preparations for the mission, and ESA says all affordable launch options to Mars should be looked at.

ESA wants to take a pioneering role in the descent and landing of payloads, but also in the field of life support. Technological advances for manned spaceflight should also help bring the goal within reach, the agency said.

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