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Late in 2013, an Ariane 5 ECA will launch one of the most ambitious ESA missions ever: ExoMars, a rover that will search for traces of past or present life on and below the Mars surface.
The presentation will briefly outline the history of previous Mars exploration. The ExoMars mission is explained in detail, covering all phases from launch through interplanetary transfer, Mars orbit insertion, waiting in Mars orbit, lander deployment, entry, descent and landing up to the surface phase.
This involves a suite of dedicated hardware: ExoMars consists of three spacecraft: the carrier, the descent module and the rover, each of which requires a significant development effort and preparation phase, in which ESOC will play a key role.
ExoMars is only one element in a chain of increasingly complex international missions. The next step is a joint ESA-NASA Mars Sample Return at the end of the next decade.