SCI-TECH / AIR & SPACE
China plans to retrieve samples from Mars by 2030, study the edge of solar system
Published: Mar 07, 2022 12:08 AM
Illustration of the Tianwen-1 orbiter in the remote sensing orbit Photo: CASC

Illustration of the Tianwen-1 orbiter in the remote sensing orbit Photo: CASC


China plans to retrieve samples from Mars by 2030, said Wu Weiren, chief designer of China's lunar exploration program and member of the National Committee's Standing Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). China will also study plans for exploration of the boundaries of the solar system, Wu noted. 

The Mars sample retrieving mission will be much more difficult than the one to the Moon, and the first thing that needs to be solved is the development of a launch vehicle with greater thrust. 

"The Sun is about 150 million kilometers away from the Earth, which is one astronomical unit. We plan to achieve the goal of 'double 100' in 2049, that is, to complete 100 astronomical units, or 15 billion kilometers of travel in deep space, for the centenary of the founding of the People's Republic of China," Wu said. 

China unveiled a roadmap for the country's future manned Mars exploration missions in June, 2021, which includes three steps: the technology preparation phase, a manned mission to Mars, and the Earth-Mars cargo fleet. 

The timetable for these missions will be 2033, 2035, 2037, 2041 and 2043, the state-owned China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT) revealed. 

China's first interplanetary exploration mission, the Tianwen-1 Mars probe, was successfully launched into orbit on July 23, 2020. It achieved a historical feat of achieving orbiting, landing and roving the Red Planet, all in one go. 

The smooth touchdown of the Tianwen-1 probe on Mars made China the third nation to achieve such a feat after Russia and the US.