According to reports, China intends to return samples of Mars to Earth in 2031, two years before the joint project of NASA and the European Space Agency.
China’s Tianwen-1 began sending images of Mars in February last year. The rover began exploring the Red Planet in May 2021.
Tianwen-1’s chief designer Sun Zhezhou reportedly presented China’s ambitious plan during a presentation.
The plan included landing on Mars in 2028 and after extensive research that includes sampling and drilling, the spacecraft is expected to depart Mars in 2030 and return to Earth in July 2031.
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China has invested billions of dollars in its space program. The country is also planning to build a base on the moon.
Sun revealed that the Tianwen-1 orbiter is also ready to prepare for a sample return. China had earlier returned a lunar sample in 2020.
See: Human waste found on Mars
Last month three Chinese astronauts arrived at the country’s space station as the communist nation continues its complex space mission. Astronauts blasted off a Long March-2F rocket from the Gobi Desert.
NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) decided to delay their launch until 2028, saying that Mars samples would be possible in 2033 under the revised schedule.
ESA and NASA are also in talks to land the first European on the Moon. The US banned China from the International Space Station (ISS) in 2011 due to national security concerns.
(with inputs from agencies)
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