China eyes on sending its first crewed mission to Mars in 2033 with further plans to organize similar missions in 2035, 2037, and 2041. The country seeks to send astronauts to the planet in order to build a space base station, the head of state-owned China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology hinted.
The ambitious country‘s goal was revealed during a space exploration conference by the head of the state-owned China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT) Wang Xiaojun. The first crewed mission to Mars should be one of the initial steps towards the nation‘s plan to build a permanently inhabited base on the planet in a long-term perspective.
Speaking to the media, Xiaojun outlined that before the historical mission which is scheduled to be conducted in 2033, China aims to study sites for the potential base as well as to build systems to extract resources in the future. Therefore, in 2030, the country plans to launch an uncrewed mission with robots and acquire soil samples from the planet. For human habitation on the planet, astronauts should be able to use local resources, including the on-site generated oxygen and on-site extracted water.
China also plans to launch a space base at the South pole of the Moon and conduct robotic expeditions to asteroids and Jupiter in 2030, the boss of CALT said.
The recent news regarding China’s target came just weeks after it became the second country after the United States to operate a remote-controlled rover on Mars. Following the Chinese Tianwen-1 mission, in May 2021, Beijing sent the solar-powered Zhurong robot to study surface rocks and the atmosphere of Mars.
Meanwhile, on June 17, 2021, the country has launched a historic manned mission, Shenzhou-12, with three astronauts on board a spacecraft, the third of 11 missions needed to complete China’s first full-fledged space station CSS.