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14 maart 2016 - 26 maart 2036

ExoMars (Exobiology on Mars) is an astrobiology programme of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Russian space agency Roscosmos.

The goals of ExoMars are to search for signs of past life on Mars, investigate how the Martian water and geochemical environment varies, investigate atmospheric trace gases and their sources and by doing so demonstrate the technologies for a future Mars sample-return mission. The first part of the programme is a mission launched in 2016 that placed the Trace Gas Orbiter into Mars orbit and released the Schiaparelli EDM lander. The orbiter is operational but the lander crashed on the planet’s surface. The second part of the programme was planned to launch in July 2020, when the Kazachok lander would have delivered the Rosalind Franklin rover on the surface, supporting a science mission that was expected to last into 2022 or beyond. On 12 March 2020, it was announced that the second mission was being delayed to 2022 as a result of problems with the parachutes, which could not be resolved in time for the launch window.

The Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) and a test stationary lander called Schiaparelli were launched on 14 March 2016. TGO entered Mars orbit on 19 October 2016 and proceeded to map the sources of methane (CH4) and other trace gases present in the Martian atmosphere that could be evidence for possible biological or geological activity. The TGO features four instruments and will also act as a communications relay satellite. The Schiaparelli experimental lander separated from TGO on 16 October and was maneuvered to land in Meridiani Planum, but it crashed on the surface of Mars. The landing was designed to test new key technologies to safely deliver the subsequent rover mission.

In June 2023, a Roscosmos lander named Kazachok (refers to “little Cossack” as well as a folk dance), was due to deliver the ESA Rosalind Franklin rover to the Martian surface. The rover would also include some Roscosmos built instruments. The second mission operations and communications would be led by ALTEC‘s Rover Control Centre in Italy. The ExoMars 2022 mission was planned for launch during a twelve-day launch window starting on 20 September 2022, and scheduled to land on Mars on 10 June 2023. It would have included a German-built cruise stage and Russian descent module. On 28 February 2022, the ESA announced that, as a result of sanctions related to the 2021–2022 Russo-Ukrainian crisis, a 2022 launch is “very unlikely.” The next launch window will open in late 2024.


ExoMars Space Research Institute of Russian Academy of Science site

The ExoMars project at

Arrival at Mars (The New York Times; 16 October 2016)

Animated video of ExoMars


14 maart 2016
26 maart 2036
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