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Euro-Russian Mission to Mars Blasts Off From Baikonur Cosmodrome

© Sputnik / Alexander Kovalev / Go to the photo bankThales Alenia Space associates seen at the clean shop, handling the orbital station of the European-Russian project "ExoMars 2016"
Thales Alenia Space associates seen at the clean shop, handling the orbital station of the European-Russian project ExoMars 2016 - Sputnik International
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ExoMars, the first joint ESA-Roscosmos mission to the red planet to search for the presence of life, will take off on Monday at 09:31 GMT from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

BAIKONUR (Kazakhstan), (Sputnik) — The launch of the first in the history of Russia-EU cooperation joint ExoMars mission to search for the traces of life on Mars is scheduled for 09:31 GMT on Monday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome.

The ExoMars's spacecrafts — the orbital and the landing modules — will be put into orbit by Russia's Proton-M space rocket.

ExoMars TGO spacecraft at Mars, artwork - Sputnik International
ExoMars Has Historical, Practical Significance for Russia, Europe
The main objective of the 2016 mission is to find traces of methane in the planet's atmosphere, which would confirm presence of life on Mars now or in the past, as well as to check the key technology for the second part of the ExoMars mission scheduled for 2018, a spokesperson for the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) told RIA Novosti.

The European Space Agency and Roscosmos agreed to develop the ExoMars program in 2012 to investigate the atmosphere of Mars and explore possible signs of life that was once on the red planet. Today's orbital probe launch is expected to be followed by a Mars rover probe in 2018.

On Sunday, head of Roscosmos Igor Komarov said that the ESA and Roscosmos were discussing the possibility to postpone the second part of the ExoMars mission from 2018 to 2020.

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