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New Delhi: India and the US on Thursday discussed the possibilities of collaboration in future Mars exploration projects and other space missions.

The Mars Working Group of the two countries, which met on Thursday, sought to identify and implement goals that Nasa and Isro share on Mars exploration, particularly coordinated observations and science analysis between MAVEN, the Mars Mission of Nasa, and Isro’s MoM.

“Our countries established a Mars Working Group to investigate further cooperation for Mars exploration. The third face-to-face meeting concluded in Bengaluru. “The Mars Working Group seeks to identify and implement goals that Nasa and Isro share on Mars exploration, particularly coordinated observations and science analysis between MAVEN and MoM and Nasa’s other Mars projects," Richard Verma, US ambassador to India, said.

“We can continue exploring Mars together. Our engineers can jointly develop a space craft to study the surface of Mars. Our scientists can work together, study the and analyse the data and learn even more about the Red planet. Let’s go further in our solar system. Our nations could build together space craft to reach other planets in our solar system," he said.

He was delivering a lecture on “US-India Collaboration & Innovation: Exploring the Potential of Satellites for Digital" at the ORF Kalpana Chawla Annual Space Policy Dialogue. Noting that space cooperation between the two countries has increased by leaps and bounds, Verma said it was not possible to think of such cooperation a few years ago.

After the nuclear tests conducted by India in 1974 and 1998, the US and several Western countries imposed sanctions which badly hit the nuclear and space industry in the country.

Listing out Isro and Nasa cooperation on Mars, Verma said the working group is also looking at future potential joint missions to Mars.

“Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory provided navigation and communication support to MoM, showcasing how our nations can work together on complex channels," Verma said. He added that the two space agencies have embarked on an ambitious space project NASA ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) project.

India and the US also discussed ways to enhance cooperation in space, including vital security aspects, at different international fora.

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