Europe and Russia are launching the launch of ExoMars, their rover to search for life on Mars, from 2018 to 2020, at which time Earth and Mars will be in an ideal position for interplanetary flights.
“Russian and European experts have done everything possible to start the mission on schedule in 2018,” said the European Space Agency on Monday.
But the commission that studied the options for overcoming the delays, concluded that launching the launch by July 2020 “would be the best solution.”
Program managers agreed and asked project teams to coordinate with industry contractors and develop new schedules. “Additional measures will be taken to maintain control over the activities of both parties until launch,” the statement said.
The delay means that the ExoMars mission, which will search for past or present life on Mars, starts in the same period as NASA Mars 2020, similar to the Curiosity rover mission. In addition to assessing the habitability of Mars, the NASA mission will collect samples for later return to Mars.
In December, problems with the French scientific tool for InSight, another NASA Mars mission, did not allow launching in March 2016. This flight was postponed until 2018.