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Unmanned Exploration of Mars Is Set for 2009

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

The European Space Agency will send an unmanned mission to Mars in 2009 to put a roving vehicle on the planet in a search for evidence of life, the agency said.

The ESA hopes the mission, known as ExoMars, also will provide new insight into the planet’s surface and atmosphere. The trip is part of ESA’s preparation for eventual manned missions to Mars. The mission plan involves a solar-powered vehicle used to drill holes into the Martian surface and take samples from sites where scientists believe primitive life forms may have existed.


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