ESA and NASA in space race The Australian

Europe intends to go head to head with the US in a race to capture a piece of Mars and bring it back to Earth in the next chapter of the search for life on the Red Planet. A European mission to scoop up half a kilogram of Martian rocks and carry them home for analysis will blast off in 2011, European Space Agency officials have announced. While the two space agencies prefer to be seen as partners, their increasing emphasis on Mars exploration is inevitably lending an edge of rivalry to their efforts.