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ExoMars is one of the missions of ESA's Aurora Programme – and was the first flagship mission to be assessed by ESA within the programme. It has evolved a lot since then, and the mission concept has changed. It was initially a lander, rover and orbiter package. This has now been split into 2 ExoMars missions, one in 2016 and one in 2020.


Aurora Programme
Image credit: ESA


Originally a collaboration between ESA and NASA, the ExoMars Mission is now a joint effort between ESA and the Russian Space Agency, RosCosmos. BIRA-IASB, and Belgium in general, are heavily involved in the 2016 mission, leading one of the four science instruments on board the orbiter.




The Aurora Programme's final goal is to achieve manned exploration of Mars, and these missions pave the way for further and equally ambitious visits to the Red Planet, many of which can only be achieved in the framework of wide international collaboration.


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