The second phase of the joint ExoMars project of Roskosmos and the European Space Agency (ESA) was postponed from 2018 to 2020, TASS reported referring to the state corporation.
Russian and European specialists have done their best to stay on schedule, but after analyzing of the final report of a specially created group of experts, it was decided to postpone the start of the project.
The second phase of ExoMars mission involves sending a Russian landing platform and a European rover to the Red Planet. The main tasks of this phase will be drilling and analysis of Martian soil. Scientists believe that some signs of organic life could be preserved at a depth of several meters.
On March 14, the Russian-European ExoMars-2016 mission was launched from Baikonur with the Proton-M carrier rocket. It consists of the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) and Schiaparelli landing demonstration module. They are to arrive to Mars in October.
The TGO will analyze the atmospheric trace species and the distribution of water ice in Martian soil. The Schiaparelli was designed for adjustment of technologies’ input into the atmosphere, as well as for descent, landing and researches. He will work on Mars during a few days only up to the end of the batteries’ charge