China to Launch Mission Mars in 2020
Chinese officials announced that they intent to send an un-manned spacecraft to red planet in a span of four years while revealing the details of their mission to explore Mars. They also said that they have planned a launch occurring sometime in 2020.
National Space Administration director Xu Dazhe told a press conference in Beijing that what they want to achieve is to orbit mars, land on the surface and deploys the rover in the same mission.
“What we want to achieve is to orbit Mars, land, and deploy the rover in one mission, which will be quite difficult to achieve.”
Xu also said that by completing China’s Mars probe mission, it will embark on the deep space exploration.
“Researching these matters is really researching humanity itself and the origins of life. Only by completing this Mars probe mission can China say it has truly embarked on the exploration of deep space.”
According to authorities aim of the mission is to study the atmosphere and surface of Mars and finding traces of water.
A number of spacecraft have been sent to Mars by different countries but only NASA has been able to successfully land a rover – Curiosity Rover – on the surface of the red planet.
China’s last attempt in 2011 to get a spacecraft in orbit around Mars wasn’t successful. When Russian made Phobos-Grunt (Fobos Grunt) failed to carry Chinese built orbiter Yinghuo-I out of the earth’s orbit. Both spacecraft were destroyed over the Pacific Ocean upon re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere.
The most recent attempt was made by India with its Mars Orbiter Mission – also known as Mangalyaan – in 2014. It made India the first Asian country to reach the Mars orbit and also the first nation to achieve this in first attempt.
China has an ambitious, multi-billion dollar space program run by military. Beijing sees it as a symbol of country’s progress and a mark in its rising global stature.
An aerospace expert from Chinese Academy of Sciences, Ye Peijian, told a local press agency that they have less than 5 years till the launch. Hence it’s a big challenge for them.
“Although we are not the first Asian nation to send a probe to Mars, we want to start at a higher level. We have less than five years till the launch, but we are confident. The probe is being developed by the team that completed the Chang’e–3 lunar probe.”
Chang’e–4 – successor of Chang’e–3 – is expected to launch in 2018. It’s not just another mission to Moon, but it will explore a totally new territory as it will be the first lunar mission to land on the far side of the Moon.
All the efforts made by China seems as revisiting things which are already achieved by United States years ago. But it’s very exciting to see the rate at which they are going. And this mission Mars 2020 is an important part of it.