11:51 GMT29 October 2020
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    The ExoMars program to explore the environment on Mars has historical and practical significance for Russia and Europe, deputy-head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, Sergei Savelev, said Thursday.

    CANNES (Sputnik) – In 2012, the European Space Agency and Roscosmos agreed to develop the ExoMars program with the objective of investigating the environment on Mars to find out whether life ever existed on the planet.

    "The ExoMars project certainly has historical and practical significance for Russia and Europe… Despite the complexity of the geopolitical situation, space cooperation is not only not being scaled down, but we, together with the European Space Agency, are developing plans for its expansion," Savelev told RIA Novosti.

    He explained that the project's practical significance for Russia is that it allows the country, despite its "very tight budget," to participate in a modern and very expensive mission, which, if successful, would open access to "the most important scientific information."

    It is hoped that two missions will be launched under the ExoMars program. In 2016, an orbital probe will be launched to Mars to study the planet's atmosphere and to exchange data with a rover. In 2018, a Martian rover probe will be launched to explore the surface of the planet.


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