A European rover is part of the 2020 mission of the ExoMars programme that will also deliver a Russian surface platform to Mars.
The rover will be the first mission to combine the capability to move across the surface and to study Mars at depth.
It will collect samples with a drill down to a depth of 2 m and analyse them with next-generation instruments in an onboard laboratory. Underground samples are more likely to include biomarkers, since the tenuous martian atmosphere offers little protection from radiation and photochemistry at the surface.
The primary objective is to land the rover at a site with high potential for finding well-preserved organic material, particularly from the very early history of the planet.
The rover is expected to travel several kilometres during its mission.