BEIJING — China has announced plans to land a rover on Mars before the end of the decade, according to China’s state-owned news service Xinhua.
The country’s State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense on Tuesday unveiled concept images of the project’s six-wheeled rover, probe and lander, which it aims to send to the Red Planet in July or August of 2020.
The mission will be launched on a Long March-5 carrier rocket from Wenchang space center in south China’s Hainan province.
After orbiting the planet for nearly seven months, the lander will separate from the probe and touch down in a low latitude area on the northern hemisphere of Mars. The sunlight in this area is not as plentiful as at the equator, but the rover is equipped with six solar panels and designed to operate for three Martian months.
The rover weighs in at around 200 kilograms, much larger than its predecessor the Jade Rabbit or Yutu rover.
The rover will be able to carry 13 payloads, including a remote sensing camera and a ground penetrating radar that could be used to study the soil, environment and atmosphere, as well as measure the planet’s physical fields, the distribution of water and ice, and Mars’ inner structure.
If the mission os successful, China would become the fifth country or group of countries to orbit Mars, after the U.S., Russia and the former Soviet Union, Europe and India.
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