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“We are currently working on getting a joint position with the European Space Agency. This is part of our joint activities with the ESA after the ExoMars programme,” Khartov said, adding that specialists were actively working on the Mars exploration project.
Russia's space agency Roscosmos and the European Space Agency signed an agreement on the joint ExoMars program in March 2013 to investigate the Martian environment and to demonstrate new technologies paving the way for a future Mars sample return mission in the 2020’s.
Two missions are foreseen within the ExoMars programme: one consisting of an Orbiter plus an Entry, Descent and Landing Demonstrator Module, to be launched in 2016, and the other, featuring a rover, with a launch date of 2018.
The ExoMars programme will demonstrate a number of essential flight and enabling technologies that are necessary for future exploration missions, such as an international Mars Sample Return mission. A number of important scientific investigations will be carried out, including a search for signs of past and present life on Mars, investigations into the water and geochemical environment varies and studies of Martian atmospheric trace gases and their sources.