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Roscosmos, ESA to conduct joint unmanned expedition to Mars   2012-04-06 21:42:43            

MOSCOW, April 6 (Xinhua) -- Russia's federal space agency Roscosmos and the European Space Agency (ESA) agreed to conduct an ExoMars joint project on Mars exploration, Roscosmos said Friday.

The head of Roscosmos, Vladimir Popovkin, and Director General of ESA Jean-Jacques Dordain held talks here on Russia's participation in ExoMars and inked a document on cooperation, a spokeswoman for Roscosmos told local media.

"The talks yielded a statement of intent regarding the joint exploratory robotic mission to Mars," the spokeswoman said.

According to the Roscosmos, the two sides would sign a final agreement in November after confirming financial details of the project.

ExoMars, which is currently under development by the ESA, is a robotic mission to Mars for searching possible biosignature of Martian life.

Initially, the project envisaged the launch of a mission to Mars orbit in 2016, followed by landing a ground vehicle in 2018 with the participation of the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

ESA turned to Russia for support after NASA refused to provide the project with an Atlas-5 rocket as a carrier to deliver a space vehicle to Mars.

Editor: Lu Hui
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