Updated 11:29 AM EDT, Tue, Jun 16, 2020

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China Unveils Mars Exploration Plan by 2020

China's Mars exploration by 2020 is an act of catching up with India, US, Russia and EU to reach the red planet.

(Photo : Twitter) China's Mars exploration voyager would be launched in 2020.

China has unveiled the designs of its Mars probe that will land on the red planet in 2020, catching up with India, the United States, Russia, and the European Union in the bid to explore the red planet.

The Chinese state administration of Science, Technology, and Industry for National Defence released the yet-unnamed Mars rover and lander concept. As part of the announcement in Beijing, authorities also launched a public competition to come up with a name and logo for the voyager. China's ambitious space program has been progressing at a rapid pace in recent years.

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“The challenges we face are unprecedented,” said Ye Peijian, one of China's leading aerospace experts and a consultant to the program.

The 2020 mission will be launched on a Long March-5 carrier rocket, the work horse for China's space missions. It will be launched from the Wenchang Space Center in south China's Hainan province. The lander will separate from the orbiter at the end of a journey of around seven months and touchdown in a low latitude area in the northern hemisphere of Mars where the rover will explore the surface, according to Fox News. 

The rover has four solar “wings” that extend around the central body. It will weigh about 440 pounds (200 kilograms), as compared to NASA's Curiosity rover at nearly 2,000 pounds (900 kilograms). It will be equipped with 13 different instruments, including a radar that can drill into the ground and a remote-sensing camera that will take a closer look at the Martian soil and environment.

The six-wheeled vehicle is set to explore the surface of the red planet’s northern hemisphere for three months. The space agency says it has chosen the spot because of its surface geography, even while solar conditions are not exactly optimal. It is hoped that the rover would be able to send back data on the red planet's soil, atmosphere and other features, including any ice or water it finds,

China recently also built the world's largest radio telescope and launched a new generation space rocket that it hopes will power future missions, including Mars exploration.

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