You know, I’m probably more philosophically inclined toward the Conservatives than the Liberals, and I’ve been on board with many of the policy decisions the Stephen Harper government has implemented, and at least willing to give them the benefit of the doubt regarding others, but…
Are you people nuts? What are you thinking?
I’m with David Shiga of the New Scientist Space Blog, who was born and raised in Canada:
…I’m utterly baffled by this decision. Nothing else that the CSA could do in the next 10 years would generate anywhere near the amount of excitement in the Canadian public than building a Mars rover.
When considering the fact that it would have merely required shifting funds within the CSA rather than the government shelling out extra money, the decision to sit this out makes no sense to me.
For a country with a relatively small population, Canada has made some very respectable contributions to spaceflight, producing several astronauts and a robotic arm for the space shuttle.
But if the country wants to do more than rest on these laurels, it will have to step up, and building the ExoMars rover would have been an ideal project to make Canadians proud.
Instead, Canada has jettisoned what looked like a done deal, leaving its ESA partners in the lurch. I can only hope that the government will change its mind and salvage some Canadian role in the project before it’s too late.