International space agencies issue space exploration 'blueprint'

Aug. 22, 2013 at 4:18 PM

MOSCOW, Aug. 22 (UPI) -- Russia's Roscosmos space agency says it has joined 11 other space agencies in releasing a blueprint for future explorations, including manned missions to Mars.

The International Space Exploration Coordination Group said its blueprint "reflects a common long-range human exploration strategy that begins with the International Space Station and expands human presence into the solar system, leading to human missions on the surface of Mars," RIA Novosti reported Wednesday.

The ISS should be used as "the foundation of exploration" and international cooperation should be the hallmark of missions as humans push deeper into space, the ISECG said.

"Exploration missions will be at much greater distances from Earth, necessitate longer astronaut stays in space, and present new risks," the group said in its exploration blueprint. "The ISS is well suited to address these challenges."

In addition to Roscosmos and NASA, the space agencies of Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Britain, Ukraine and the European Space Agency helped work out the space exploration road map.

The space agencies involved do not have to take part in every element or mission outlined in the blueprint, the group said, but all are expected to benefit from participation.

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