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ESA Aurora Exploration Programme
Credits: ESA
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The ExoMars rover will be ESA's field biologist on Mars. Its aim is to further characterise the biological environment on Mars in preparation for robotic missions and then human exploration. Credit: ESA
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Bob Chesson, Head of the Human Spaceflight and Exploration Operations Department in ESA´ Operations directorate. Credits: ESA-D.Scuka
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Michael McKay, ESOC Flight Operations Director. Credits: ESA
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European Edition of Astrobiology Magazine, cover page of December issue.
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The ExoMars rover will drill to a depth of up to 2 meters while searching for signs of life on Mars.
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Some key components of a NASA-funded instrument being developed for the
payload of the European Space Agency's ExoMars mission stand out in this
illustration of the instrument. Credit: NASA/JPL/UCSD
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The Moon is one of the most likely targets of the Aurora Programme, a European long-term plan for the robotic and human exploration of Solar System.

Aurora is part of Europe's strategy for space, endorsed by the European Union Council of Research and the ESA Council in 2001. Future missions under the programme will carry sophisticated exobiology payloads to investigate the possibility of life forms existing on other worlds within the Solar System. The Programme will also provide for the missions and technology necessary to complement those planned in the existing ESA and national programmes, in order to bring about a coherent European framework for exploration and to progressively develop a unified European approach. Credits: ESA - AOES Medialab
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ESA has recognized the importance for a Mars sample return mission,
which would provide scientists on Earth with an important opportunity to
examine Mars material in the laboratory. This artist's view shows the Mars Sample Return (MSR) ascent module lifting off from Mars' surface
with the Martian soil samples.
Credit: ESA
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Front page of Spring 2007 edition of Astrobiology Magazine, European Edition
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Artist´ conception of the European Space Agency´ ExoMars rover, which will search for signs of life on Mars. credit: ESA
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Front page of Summer 2008 edition of Astrobiology Magazine, European Edition
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A Mars Sample Return mission represents one of the most challenging space ventures possible for robotic exploration.
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