NASA's Curiosity rover is on Mars and it will soon have the company of a similar robot from the Russian-EU ExoMars mission. The authorities there are trying to zero in on a probable landing site for its robot which is under finalization according to an official associated with the project.

Sputnik News reports that two probable sites have been identified. This is according to Rodionov, the head of the ExoMars project from the Russian side. The final selection will be done by a team of scientists of EU and Russia. The main objectives of the mission will be to search for the presence of water, and signs of life on the distant planet which will be a boon to would-be settlers.

The new entrant

ExoMars is a new entrant into a joint mission of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Russian space agency Roscosmos. It has its eyes on exploration of the red planet and will try to find indications of any form of life on the distant planet.

The mission has already begun its activities and has sent its Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) and a test stationary lander. The latter failed to make it. That was in 2016. Roscosmos has recently indicated that the TGO is expected to begin its work on exploring and analyzing the atmosphere of Mars to identify traces of gases that could be indicators of life.

The next part of the mission is set to launch in June 2020. This will be to land the ExoMars rover, developed by ESA, on the planet. The surface platform of the rover is being developed by Russia, and the end product will explore the planet.

Obviously, the result of the tasks to be performed will be used by others to ensure a human outpost on Mars in the near future.

Mars is a challenge

NASA has already occupied a space on Mars and the EU-Russia collaboration wants to occupy another corner. Their mission is the same. Both Curiosity and ExoMars will search for water and signs of life which will help in colonization of the red planet. There are others in the fray like SpaceX and Mars-One who have drawn up plans to send humans to the red planet. The resultant traffic could mean that the surroundings could get crowded.

Spaceflight Now adds that ExoMars TGO had arrived at the red planet nearly one and a half years back and is now ready to settle down to an orbit approximately 250 miles over the planet. It will then be in a position to start its scientific observations by the end of April. It will begin by measuring the amount of methane present in the Martian atmosphere which is expected to provide an insight into any possible biological or geological activity. Among the instruments on board the TGO is one that can locate signs of underground ice