China’s Mars Mission Goes into High Gear; Country’s First Unmanned Probe Set to Land on the Red Planet in 2020
|Jenia Cane |||Apr 26, 2016 11:31 PM EDT|
(Photo : China Photos/Getty Images) US retired astronaut Charles F. Bolden delivers a speech with a model of a Mars Exploration Rover as he visits a research center of DuPont Company on Aug. 2, 2005 in Shanghai, China.
China's Mars mission is now on high gear, as the country's first unmanned probe is set to launch, orbit and land on the Red Plant in 2020.
This was announced by Xu Dazhe, chief of the China National Space Administration, who revealed that the Central Government had approved the Mars Mission on Jan. 11, reported the China Daily.
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According to Xu, the year 2020 was chosen because it was seen as the most suitable time for a space probe to land.
He explained that the "favorable launch window" occurs every 26 months, an opportunity Chinese scientists wouldn't like to miss.
The launch of the unmanned probe, which China's Mars mission into fruition, will conduct scientific research on the Martian soil, environment, atmosphere and water.
The Chinese space official made the announcement during a news conference in Beijing that was held to commemorate China Space Day.
It can be recalled that in March of this year, the State Council announced that Apr. 24 would be marked as China Space Day, which is the day China launched its first satellite in space in 1970.
In the meantime, Pang Zhihao, a researcher on human space activity at the China Academy of Space Technology in Beijing, noted that China will need to address some major challenges before it could land its first probe on Mars.
"The probe will travel for about nine months before it reaches the Martian orbit, because the closest distance between the Earth and Mars is more than 50 million kilometers," Pang said.
Other concerns confronting China's Mars mission is how to track, monitor and communicate with the spacecraft, as the probe will be operating at a great distance from the Earth.
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