The team behind the impending mission has recommended a landing spot on the red planet called the Oxia Planum where it is believed that a large pool of water has been sitting billions of years ago. Teams from the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Russian Roscosmos will confirm the site in mid-2019 in view of the long-awaited launch scheduled for the next year. Oxia Planum is one of the two sites that the researchers have considered, with Mawrth Vallis – a valley on Mars – revealed as the other.
The mission will see a rover ESA-Roscosmos ExoMars reach the selected site to collect samples for innovative studies.
Both sites are rich with evidence from the aquatic past of Mars and sit north of the planet's equator.
The ExoMars 2020 scientist from ESA, Jorge Vago, said: "With ExoMars we are looking for biosignature.
"While both sites offer valuable scientific opportunities to explore ancient water-rich environments that may have been colonized by microorganisms, Oxia Planum received a majority of votes.
"An impressive amount of work has been devoted to the characterization of the proposed sites, demonstrating that they meet the scientific requirements for the objectives of the ExoMars mission".
He added: "Mawrth Vallis is a scientifically interesting site that has been identified by orbit."
The ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter has already been engaged in the search for signs of the biological activity of Mars.
Recently, researchers gathered at the UK National Space Center in Leicester for a two-day summit to discuss the two sites.
The experts determined that Oxia Planum was the best option because it is located on what was once an ancient water mirror where many water courses flowed, and as a result it hosts layers of water. minerals rich in clay.
The mission should take place between 25 July and 13 August in 2020, with the main objective of finding out if there had ever been life on Mars.