• Europe, Russia embark on search for life on Mars

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    PARIS: Europe and Russia are set to launch an unmanned spacecraft Monday to smell Mars’ atmosphere for gassy evidence that life once existed on the Red Planet, or may do so still. ExoMars 2016, the first of a two-phase Mars exploration, will see an orbiter hoisted from Kazakhstan at 0931 GMT Monday on a Russian Proton rocket. With its suite of high-tech instruments, the Trace Gas Orbiter or TGO, should arrive at the Red Planet on October 19 after a journey of 496 million kilometers (308 million miles). Its main mission to photograph the Red Planet and analyze its air, the TGO will also piggyback a Mars lander dubbed Schiaparelli. ExoMars is a two-step collaboration between ESA and Russia’s Roscosmos space agency.

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    AFP

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