The nine-month mission ExoMars 2022 is to search the red planet for evidence of the existence of life in the past and present, Izvestija wrote on its website.
He also recalled that the launch of the automatic interplanetary station Luna-25 from Russia’s new Vostochny spaceport was originally planned for this month, but in August Roscosmos announced a postponement to May next year due to the need for longer preparations. The project is to launch a long-term Russian “monthly” program, including sampling from the surface and, in a more distant perspective, building a base on the moon in cooperation with China.
The Luna-25 apparatus consists of a landing gear and an instrument section. The task is to develop basic procedures and technologies for a smooth landing and research of the given area of the Moon.
The pandemic has slowed space exploration
Roscosmos and the European Space Agency (ESA) announced last March that they were postponing the start of the second phase of the joint ExoMars mission, sending a robotic vehicle to explore the red planet, for two years due to a pandemic.
Originally, a special robotic vehicle was to be launched on Mars last summer. The new launch date was chosen with regard to ballistic conditions, which allow the launch of the apparatus from Earth to Mars once every two years within two short periods of time, which last every ten days.
The vehicle will be the second stage of a program of joint research by European and Russian scientists on the Red Planet. The first started in March 2016, when the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) satellite with the Schiaparelli module set out for Mars. While the TGO had successfully settled in the planned orbit after six months, the surface survey module broke on a failed landing.