A visualisation of the European ExoMars rover on the surface of the Red Planet.

Europe’s troubled Mars rover still vital in the search for life on the Red Planet

The stars have not been aligned for Europe’s first Martian rover ExoMars, but scientists still think the aging vehicle can play a big role in answering one of the biggest questions in Mars exploration: has there ever been life on the Red Planet?

The European Space Agency’s (ESA) ExoMars Rosalind Franklin Rover is probably the most high-profile space industry casualty of Russia’s war in Ukraine. Originally expected to launch in 2018, the rover was finally declared ready to go (after several delays) for a launch in September this year atop Russia’s Proton rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. But Russia’s invasion of Ukraine put a stop to these plans. 

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