The Russian Space Agency (Roscosmos) announced on Thursday that its joint mission with the European Space Agency (ESA), ExoMars-2020, has been rescheduled for 2022 because of the coronavirus.
"We have made a difficult but well-weighed decision to postpone the launch to 2022," it said in a statement.
Experts, it added, had decided that tests necessary to make all components of the spacecraft fit for the Mars adventure "need more time to complete."
"In addition, the parties had to recognize that the final phase of ExoMars activities are compromised by the general aggravation of the epidemiological situation in European countries."
This "left our experts practically no possibility to proceed with travels to partner industries," it said.
The primary goal of the mission is to determine if there has ever been life on Mars, and to better understand the history of water on the planet.
The global death toll from COVID-19 has surpassed 4,600, with over 124,500 confirmed cases, according to the World Health Organization, which has declared the situation a "global pandemic."
The virus originated in China’s central Wuhan city last December, and has since spread to at least 117 countries.
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