Europe, Russia ink deal on double mission to Mars AFP

The European Space Agency (ESA) said it signed a deal on Thursday with its Russian counterpart to launch two unmanned missions to Mars, a quest that was rocked by a US pullout last year.
Called ExoMars, the scheme entails sending an orbital probe to the Red Planet in January 2016 to look for atmospheric traces of methane gas, a pointer to the existence of microbial life.
It will also send down a small stationary lander to test key technologies for the second mission — the launch of a six-wheeled rover in 2018.