The space program of China has announced the country will launch a Mars mission in July this year and according to the plans it includes deploying an orbital probe to study Mars and a remotely-controlled rover for exploration on the surface of the Red Planet.
This will count as China’s first rover mission to Mars and make it compete against the United States since the US has also planned to launch another robotic rover mission for Mars in the summer of this year. The US has already done four Mars rover mission and the planned mission will be it’s fifth with the new rover called ‘Perseverance,’ that is expected to be making its landing sometime in February 2021.
Summer season is noted as the optimal transit period from Earth to Mars thanks to their relative orbits around the Sun.
China has planned a large number of space exploration programs this year including the development and launch of its own space station by the year 2022. China’s space program has recently tested its new spacecraft using the Long March 5B rocket that is expected to carry Chinese astronauts to land on the surface of the moon.
NASA’s mission also includes an ambitious rock sample return plan, which will include the first powered spacecraft launch from the red planet to bring that back. The U.S. space agency is also sending the first atmospheric aerial vehicle to Mars on this mission, a helicopter drone that will be used for short flights to collect additional data from above the planet’s surface.
China has a number of plans to expand its space exploration efforts, including the development and launch of an orbital research platform, its own space station above Earth, by 2022. The nation’s space program also recently test-launched a new crew spacecraft, which will eventually be used in its mission to land Chinese astronauts on the surface of the Moon.
NASA will be launching astronauts aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station on Wednesday that will be a milestone for both NASA and SpaceX.