Euro-Russian ExoMars starts search for life on Mars (2)

Craft launched in Kazakhstan, strong Italian presence

(ANSA) - Rome, March 14 - The European-Russian ExoMars mission to find traces of life on Mars began on Monday with a rocket launch from Baikonur in Kazakhstan. Italy has a strong presences in the mission via the contributions of the Italian Space Agency (ASI) and companies Finmeccanica and Thales Alenia Space Italia.
    "ExoMars is the Europe that we like," Premier Matteo Renzi, who has been highly critical of the direction of the EU, said via his Twitter account (@matteorenzi). "It's the Italy we are proud of @ASI_spazio @finmeccanicaIT". The rocket is carrying the unmanned ExoMars probe which has started a seven-month journey through space that should see it reach Mars in October. It is made up an orbiter, which will analyse gases around Mars, such as methane, a chemical that is linked to life on Earth, and a small lander that will put a rover on the surface in 2018.
   

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