The team behind the coming mission has recommended landing areas on the red planet of the name Oxia Planum where a large pool of water is believed to sit a billion years ago. European Space Agency (ESA) and Russian Roscosmos teams will confirm the site in mid-2019 before the anticipated expected launch for the following year. Oxia Planum is one of two sites that researchers have been considering, with March Vallis – a valley on Mars – revealed as the other.
The mission will see an ESA-Roscosmos ExoMars cursor arriving at the site chosen to take samples for innovative studies.
Both sites are rich with evidence of Mars's aqueous future and sits to the north of the planet's mediator.
ExoMars 2020 ESA project scientist Jorge Vago said: "With ExoMars we're trying to find biosignatures.
"Although both sites offer valuable scientific opportunities to explore ancient water environments that could be colonized by micro-organisms, Oxia Planum received the majority of votes.
"A lot of work has gone to the character of the proposed sites, demonstrating that they meet the scientific requirements for the ExoMars mission goals."
He added: "March Vallis is an scientifically interesting site that has been identified as an orbit."
The ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter has already been busy hunting for signs of Mars's biological activity.
Researchers recently gathered at the UK National Space Center in Leicester for a two day conference to discuss both sites.
The experts established were Oxia Planum that was the better site option as it sits on what was once an ancient body of water in which many streams had drained in, and consequently home to layers of minerals rich clay.
The mission is planned to take place between July 25 and August 13 in 2020, with the main aim to find out if there was ever life on Mars.