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MOSCOW, April 17. /TASS/. Russia plans to spend around 776 million rubles (almost $15 million at the current exchange rate) for preparing and launching the ExoMars mission jointly with European Space Agency, Russian space agency Roscosmos said on Friday.
"The price of the state contract is set at 776.3 million rubles," the agency said. It is planned to spend 239.9 million rubles ($4.6 million) in 2015 and remaining 536.4 million rubles ($10.3 million) in 2016.
The ExoMars Gas Orbiter is planned to be launched on the Proton-M rocket carrier from the Baikonur spaceport in January 2016. It will land on Mars on October 2016 and will proceed with mapping the sources of methane on Mars and other gases. It will also help select the landing site for the ExoMars rover.
The scientific objectives of the mission include searching for possible biosignatures of Martian life, studying the surface environment and characterizing the water and geochemical distribution on the planet.
The agreement on the joint mission was signed between the European Space Agency and Roscosmos in March 2013.