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Russia to launch missions to Mars NEXT YEAR as part of bid to colonise the Red Planet

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The president revealed the plans in an interview shown in a new documentary by Andrey Kondrashov, it has emerged.

He added that the lunar exploration programme would look at polar regions of the moon.

The Kremlin strongman, facing accusations his regime was behind the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal in Salisbury on March 4, added: ‘Our specialists will try landing near the poles because there are reasons to expect water there.

‘There is research to be done there, and from that, research of other planets and outer space can be undertaken.’

This is the first time news has emerged about the mission and Russia’s next journey to the planet was previously expected to come in 2020.

Russia’s next expected journey to the planet previously expected to come in 2020, as part of the ExoMars rover mission, whose main goal is to find out if life has ever existed on Mars. The initial stage of the mission, the Trace Gas Orbiter (artist’s impression), entered orbit in 2016
The Trace Gas Orbiter launched in March 2016 with the ill-fated Shiaparelli Demonstrator Module aboard a Proton rocket.

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The pair arrived at the red planet in October of that year but, just days before reaching the atmosphere, Shiaparelli was ejected toward Mars, ESA says

HOW MIGHT A RUSSIAN MISSION TO MARS IN 2019 OPERATE?

Very little is known about Russia’s secretive plans for a mission to Mars in 2019.
However, from what President Putin has said, it seems likely that it will take the form of an orbital science mission, perhaps with an accompanying lander.

Russia has previously cooperated with the European Space Agency on the Exo Mars mission, which tried unsuccessfully to land a rover on the red planet.

The initial stage of the mission, the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter, did succesfully enter orbit around Mars in October 2016.

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The ex-Soviet state may be hoping to achieve what the ExoMars mission has so far been unable to.

Objectives of the mission are likely to be scientific study, as well as preparing the way for manned missions.

This could include scoping out sites for future landing sites and base camps, as well as searching for evidence of life.

Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos, and the European Space Agency are cooperating on the ExoMars rover mission.

Its primary objective is to search for signs of microscopic life, whether living or fossilised, on the Red Planet.

The initial stage of the mission, the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter, entered orbit around Mars in October 2016, although an accompanying lander crashed.

The announcement comes after NASA unveiled its own £1.5billion ($2.1 bn) Mars exploration bid.

The announcement comes after NASA unveiled its own £1.5billion ($2.1 bn) Mars exploration bid, the Mars 2020 mission (artist’s impression of Rover), which is timed for a launch in July/August 2020 when Earth and Mars are in good positions relative to each other for landing

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WHAT IS THE EXOMARS MISSION?
The main goal of ExoMars is to find out if life has ever existed on Mars.

The spacecraft on which the Schiaparelli travelled to Mars, Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO), carries a probe to study trace gases such as methane around the planet.

Scientists believe methane, a chemical that on Earth is strongly tied to life.

The second part of the ExoMars mission, delayed to 2020, will deliver a rover to Mars’ surface.

It will be the first with the ability to both move across the planet’s surface and drill into the ground to collect and analyse samples.

Schiaparelli was designed to test technologies for the rover’s landing in four years – but, it crashed into the red planet in October 2016.

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