China recently revealed its plans to launch their first probe to Mars in the summer of 2020 and is part of the Chinese government’s plans to become one of the world leaders in the exploration of the Red Planet. It’s expected that the probe will take around seven months to reach Mars, and when it does, it will start transmitting information back to Earth the following year. This will include data about the planet’s environment as well as any signs of life.
The actual life expectancy of the probe is about two Earth years, which should be long enough to collate sufficient information about the planet we’re soon to be colonizing on. If successful, China will become the fifth country to send an orbital spacecraft to Mars. Nearly 15 years ago now, in 2003, China launched its first manned spacecraft into space, and in 2013 the country was the first since the 1970’s to successful land a rover on the moon.
China has faced some struggles in the past when it comes to space exploration such as the banning of Chinese astronauts (taikonauts) from the International Space Station (ISS) and the failure of their first Mars orbiter mission in 2011. But, moving forward the country are hopeful these Mars missions will help regain confidence from the rest of the world. We Yanhua is Vice Director of China’s National Space Administration, and he said earlier this year, “Our overall goal is that, by around 2030, China will be among the major space powers of the world.” So, move over USA, Russia, Europe, and India, as there’s a new player in this space race.
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