An instrument designed to sniff for signs of life on Mars successfully lifted off from the the Russian-operated Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan yesterday and zoomed out of Earth orbit.
The launch marked the beginning of ExoMars, a joint mission between Europe and Russia.
The Trace Gas Orbiter on board the Proton rocket will sniff for methane from the Martian orbit.
Meanwhile, a lander will drop from the spacecraft and land on the planet's surface, a trial run ahead of the mission's second stage due in 2018, when a European rover will drill for signs of life.
Read more about the mission – ExoMars set to sniff out life on the Red Planet – and watch the launch below:
Read science facts, not fiction...
There’s never been a more important time to explain the facts, cherish evidence-based knowledge and to showcase the latest scientific, technological and engineering breakthroughs. Cosmos is published by The Royal Institution of Australia, a charity dedicated to connecting people with the world of science. Financial contributions, however big or small, help us provide access to trusted science information at a time when the world needs it most. Please support us by making a donation or purchasing a subscription today.