Na­tion to send un­manned probes to Mars, Jupiter by 2030

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHAO LEI zhaolei@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China plans to send un­manned probes to ex­plore Mars and Jupiter by 2030, said a se­nior space of­fi­cial.

Wu Yan­hua, deputy di­rec­tor of the China Na­tional Space Ad­min­is­tra­tion, said at a news con­fer­ence in Bei­jing on Tues­day that the gov­ern­ment has de­cided to send a ro­botic probe to Mars to or­bit and land on the red planet around 2020. The probe will con­duct sci­en­tific re­search on the Mar­tian soil and at­mos­phere and search for signs of water.

“The project has pro­ceeded well since it was ap­proved in Jan­uary. Now we have fi­nal­ized the over­all plan and be­gun to de­velop re­lated equip­ment such as the Mars rover,” he said.

A larger probe also will set off for Mars around 2030 to take sam­ples and re­turn to Earth, he said.

The con­fer­ence was held by the State Coun­cil In­for­ma­tion Of­fice to is­sue the China’s Space Ac­tiv­i­ties in 2016 white paper, which re­views progress made in 2016 and dis­closes ma­jor tasks for the next five years.

Jupiter as well as its moons will be vis­ited by at least one un­manned probe from China be­fore 2030, Wu said.

Il­lus­tra­tions show the coun­try’s first Mars probe con­sist­ing of three parts — an or­biter, lan­der and rover. The rover will have six wheels and four so­lar pan­els.

The probe is ex­pected to take nearly seven months be­fore reach­ing the red planet, said Zhang Rongqiao, chief sci­en­tist of China’s Mars ex­plo­ration pro­gram.

The rover will carry 13 sci­en­tific in­stru­ments, weigh about 200 kilo­grams and work 92 days on the planet, ac­cord­ing to Sun Zezhou, chief de­signer of the probe.

Wu also said Tues­day that the Chang’e 5 lu­nar probe will be sent to the moon by the end of 2017 to take sam­ples and re­turn to Earth. In 2018, Chang’e 4 will carry out the world’s first soft land­ing — us­ing rock­ets to slow des­cent — on the far side of the moon.

China has launched three ro­botic lu­nar ex­plo­ration mis­sions, in­clud­ing one that soft-landed a rover on the moon.

To re­al­ize China’s grand as­pi­ra­tions, sci­en­tists have started to de­sign a su­per­heavy rocket, the Long March 9, and plan to put it to use around 2030, Wu said.

Wu Yan­hua, deputy di­rec­tor of the China Na­tional Space Ad­min­is­tra­tion

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