Russian space agency Roscosmos is inviting tenders in order to begin a joint project with the European Space Agency, or ESA, to explore Mars, according to a statement on the official public procurements webpage. The estimated cost of the project is $86 million.
“The purpose of the bid is to create a space system to conduct research on Mars in 2016 and 2018 together with the [ESA],” the document asserted.
The project includes the ExoMars-2016 and ExoMars-2018 orbiters and a stationary lander.
The mission is expected to last through 2022.
ExoMars is a collaborative effort of the Russian space agency Roscosmos and the European Space Agency. The project will be implemented in two phases, with the second part delivering the Russian landing platform and the European rover to Mars. The goal of the endeavour is to analyse the surface and atmosphere around the landing area, and search for compounds and other matter that could point to any trace of life on the planet.