China plans Mars mission for 2020

China plans Mars mission for 2020

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China Mars mission_Mars rover prototype

Researchers in China plan to conduct Mars mission around 2020.

China has announced that it has plans for a Mars mission, which will involve sending an unmanned rover to the red planet by 2020 on November 18, 2014. At present, the country does not have an official mission, however, researchers claim that there is a strategy in place, according to which the rover needs to be ready for launch by 2018.

China Mars mission_Mars rover prototype

The mission so far has been revealed to include the probe’s orbiting, landing and roaming. Without doubt, the country would be pouring billions of dollars into its space programme if it has to compete with the American or European Mars missions.

The announcement comes a week after the prototype models of the Mars rover were displayed at the China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition. The prototypes indicate that the rovers will be smaller in size than those used by other countries, such as the Curiosity rover by NASA, which is currently exploring the Mars terrain.

In 2013, China had also launched and successfully landed its unmanned probe on the moon, known as the Yutu or the Jade Rabbit, However, the lunar rover experienced many technical problems throughout its operation. As a continuation of this programme, scientists are now focusing on sending a manned mission to the moon that ensures a safe return to Earth, along with samples.

So far, the US has landed two rovers on Mars, followed by the successful first attempt by India in September 2014 to reach the Mars orbit on a shoe-string budget ($100 million). The former Soviet Union and the European Space Agency have also sent missions to Mars.

Although, China had attempted in 2011 to send a satellite into Mars orbit, the Russian rocket carrying the payload could not leave the Earth’s orbit.

Photo Credits: straitstimes.com