Science 3 min read

China Plans to Launch its First Mars Rover Next Year

In a major boost to the nation's space program, China has announced it will be sending a Mars rover to the Red Planet next year.

Yutu pancam image of the Chang'E 3 lander on the moon | Chinese Academy of Sciences

Yutu pancam image of the Chang'E 3 lander on the moon | Chinese Academy of Sciences

Following the success of its moon mission earlier this year, the Chinese space agency is now planning to conquer Mars. According to reports, China announced its ambitious plan to launch its very first Mars rover next year.

Before the opening of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, China’s lunar exploration program chief designer Wu Wiren said:

“Over the past 60 years, we’ve made a lot of achievements, but there is still a large distance from the world space powers. Next year, we will launch a Mars probe, which will orbit around the Mars, land on it and probe it.”

Wu claims that the Red Planet was part of the country’s next step in its space exploration program. Aside from sending a rover to Mars, the Chinese space agency will also send an additional probe to the moon to take samples of its surface and carry it back to Earth.

If the next moon mission succeeds, China will become the third country to accomplish such a feat, following in the footsteps of the United States and Russia.

The Chinese Mars Rover

China’s successful space missions were all part of President Xi Jinping‘s goal to conquer space and be on top of the race. In 2013, the country sent its first rover to the moon called Yutu 1. Six years later, the Chang’E 4 lander followed, landing on the far side of the moon.

The Chang’E 4 mission was a big milestone for China, considering that it’s the first successful attempt to land a human-made probe on the far side of the moon. Furthermore, the Chang’E mission also made history for sprouting the first plants in space.

Now that NASA and other private space agencies like SpaceX have set course for Mars, China doesn’t want to be left behind.

China unveils its Mars simulation base in Qinghai Provice ahead of its plan to launch a Mars rover
China unveils its Mars simulation base in Qinghai Provice ahead of its plan to launch a Mars rover. The simulation is reportedly worth $22.3 million USD | Global Times

Last Friday, the country reportedly opened its first Mars simulation headquarters in Qinghai Province. According to reports, the simulation base was opened to the public to encourage people to get themselves involved in space exploration.

Project founder Gao Jungling said that the location of the simulation base had been labeled the most Martian place here on Earth because of its natural features, landscapes, and climate that significantly resembles those of Mars.

Before 2030, China plans to launch four deep space missions which will include probing Mars, several asteroids, and Jupiter to name a few.

Read More: NASA Officially Declares Opportunity Mars Rover Dead

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    Dana Brubeck March 06 at 1:28 pm GMT

    If America isn’t careful they could fall so far behind other nations. We have to stop relying on private funding to get the job done. NASA should be leading the charge to Mars, not China or Elon Musk’s hobby company.

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