A few weeks back, China had successfully landed its Chang'e-4 spacecraft on the far side of the moon. During this mission, China even sprouted a cotton seed on the lunar atmosphere, thus proclaiming the country's presence in the space race. Now, in a move to become the leader in the space race, the country is planning to send a rover to Mars for explorations.
Wu Weiren, chief designer of China's lunar exploration program recently revealed that the next step in the country's space program will be sending a rover to the Red Planet. Weiren made these remarks while speaking ahead of the opening of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).
As per Weiren, the Mars mission will be launched next year, and the project will be designed to unlock several mysteries surrounding the Red Planet.
"Over the past 60 years, we've made a lot of achievements, but there is still a large distance from the world space powers. We must speed up our pace. Next year, we will launch a Mars probe, which will orbit around the Mars, land on it and probe it," said Weiren, CNN reports.
China has been preparing for the Mars mission for the past few years, and recently, they opened a Mars simulation base in Qinghai's Qaidam Basin, an arid region in Western China. As China plans to launch the spacecraft in 2020, it is expected to have its touchdown on the Red Planet in 2021.
It should be also noted that China is also planning to send an additional probe to the lunar surface in the near future. As per reports, the lunar rover will return samples from the moon's surface back to the earth, and if this project becomes a success, China will emerge as the third country to achieve this feat after the United States and Russia.