The landing area on Mars of the first Russian descent vehicle, created within the framework of the Russian-European mission ExoMars-2020, will be selected in the fall of 2018.
As the scientific director of the project ExoMars from the Russian side, Daniil Rodionov, there are two candidates left – the plateau of Oksiya and the Mavra valley. The choice will be made this fall.
There are two requirements for planting: its technical feasibility in this area and scientific tasks – the presence in this place in the past of water and conditions for the preservation of traces of life. Previously, four landing areas were considered. All of them are located near the equator in the northern hemisphere of Mars. There are not a lot of large craters here, but a lot of dry channels.
ExoMars is a joint Russian-European project to explore Mars from the orbit of an artificial satellite and from the surface of the planet. The main goal is to study the surface of the planet, conduct geological samples and search for life forms.
In 2016, within the first phase of the project, the TGO space module was launched onto the Martian orbit. The second and main stage of the project is planned for 2020. It provides for the delivery to Mars of the Russian landing platform with the European rover Pasteur (Pasteur) and scientific equipment.
In March of this year, the European Space Agency reported on the successful testing of the parachute, with the help of which scientific equipment should be lowered to the surface of the Red Planet. As part of the tests, the 500 kg capsule with the parachute system was lifted by helicopter to a height of 1.2 km from the surface. In the future, scientists plan to retest, but at an altitude of 30 km, where the capsule should be delivered with a special balloon.