On September 18, an official with the China National Space Administration (CNSA) provided details on China's Mars exploration goals, saying the PRC’s first probe will be launched in 2020 and is expected to reach the Red Planet by 2021. The comments were made at a subforum of the World Conference on Science Literacy.
According to ECNS, the first mission will orbit, land and put an exploration rover on Mars after a 10-month voyage. The second mission, in 2028, will bring back samples of Martian soil, People’s Daily reports.
Li Guoping, director general of the department of system engineering of CNSA, said the Long March 8 rocket for 2020 will employ two 2.25-meter-diameter, solid-fuel boosters. The Long March 9 rocket for 2028 will be over 90 meters in length, capable of carrying 140 metric tons into low-Earth orbit, according to People’s Daily.
Images from Mars (left) and Qinghai province (right). Images via Wikimedia, ECNS
Last year, China announced plans to build a Mars village in Qinghai province due to its uninhabited, otherworldy environment.
The voyages to Mars are only a part of the nation's space exploration plans. In December, China will launch the Chang’e-4 lunar probe into the South-Pole Aitken Basin on the far side of the moon. The 2,500-kilometer-wide hole is considered rich in iron and was first spotted in the 1960s. Eventually, the country hopes to establish a research station on the moon. China is also planning a space mission to Jupiter.
In February, the Beijing Institute of Space Mechanics and Electricity completed landing tests for the 2020 Mars mission. The China Aerospace Science and Technology Group, the nation's main space contractor, said 16 formal tests were completed successfully, according to GB Times.
In a CNN report, Wu Yanhua, deputy chief of the National Space Administration, said China's main goal is to be among the major space powers of the world by 2030.
READ MORE: Chinese Space Station Plunges to Earth, Breaks Up Over Pacific
[Cover image via Wikimedia]
0 User Comments