China space programme targets July launch for Mars mission
Beijing (AFP) - China is targeting a July launch for its ambitious plans for a Mars mission which will include landing a remote-controlled robot on the surface of the red planet, the company in charge of the project has said.
Beijing has invested billions of dollars in its space programme in an effort to catch up with its rival the United States and affirm its status as a major world power.
The Mars mission is among a number of new space projects China is pursuing, including putting Chinese astronauts on the moon and having a space station by 2022.
Beijing had been planning the Mars mission for sometime this year, but China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) has confirmed it could come as early as July.
"This big project is progressing as planned and we are targeting a launch in July," CASC said in a statement issued on Sunday.
CASC is the main contractor for China's space programme.
Called "Tianwen", the Chinese mission will put a probe into orbit around Mars and land the robotic rover to explore and analyse the surface.
It will take several months to cover the roughly 55 million kilometres (31 million miles) distance between Earth and Mars, which is ever-changing due to their planetary orbits.
China has already carried out a similar mission to the Moon, and in January 2019 landed a small rover on the dark side of the lunar surface, becoming the first nation to do so.
The US, which has already sent four exploratory vehicles to Mars, intends to launch a fifth this summer. It should arrive around February 2021.
The United Arab Emirates plans to launch the first Arab probe to the Red Planet on July 15 from Japan.
So how long did that little RC car they landed on the Moon last???
The Opportunity Rover lasted 15 years on Mars
Space exploration is the dream of mankind for thousands of years, glad to see Chinese scientists and engineers to keep that dream alive ...!
Way to go, best wish
Not to be outdone by China, Trump just announced a manned mission to the sun, which he said will occur at night when it's a lot cooler.
Great to hear the rapid progress China is making is space exploration. If India can afford the cost to develop a manned space program, and a company like SpaceX can, then Japan and the EU should be able to afford to do it also!
Good luck Chinese space program, and keep your ambition and confidence high.
The UAE has a space program? Who woulda thunk!
Prediction...China will claim Mars
Too many sour grapes in US.
China in space, LOL They can't even make a reliable car, #BOYCOTTCHINA !!
Now, when the mission fails, or if the probe actually makes it to Mars and fails, China will blame the US for interference.
It is the Red Planet after all
Seems some forget the history. Rocketry was invented in China!
So they want to start polluting Mars now?
spreading the virus to Mars, and back?
Enter: US Space Force.
China stole all American technologies
Well I wish China luck on the mission as a lot of questions about Mars are left unanswered such as was there ever life on Mars, I hope that somebody finds out
So , the US has been there for years
Wok Your Dog
China has a super heavy lift rocket, the US does not.
Who is copying who?
Oh no, they are going to infect Mars too.
Now the red planet will truly be red.