BEIJING (Reuters) – China aims to send its first manned missions to Mars in 2033, followed by regular flights, under a long-term plan to build a permanent manned base on the Red Planet and explore for its resources.
The ambitious plan, which would step up a race with the United States to establish a human presence on Mars, was first revealed in detail after China landed a robotic probe on the planet in mid-May on its first mission to the planet.
Wang Shaojun, head of the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, China’s main rocket maker, said via video link at a conference on space exploration recently hosted by Russia that manned missions to Mars are being planned for 2033, 2035, 2037, 2041 and so on. Then.
Humans’ stay on Mars requires crews to be able to exploit the planet’s resources such as extracting any water beneath its surface, generating oxygen on site and producing electricity (SE:).
China should also develop technology to bring astronauts back to Earth.
An unmanned mission to retrieve soil samples from the planet is expected by the end of the 2030s.
The US Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is developing technology to send astronauts to Mars during the 1930s.
Wang said China’s plan includes fleets of spacecraft moving between Earth and the Red Planet and the development of its resources on a large scale.
He added that to reduce the flight time, the spacecraft must benefit from the energy generated by nuclear reactions in the form of heat and electricity, in addition to conventional chemical engines.
He said China should complete the round trip in a total time of “a few hundred days”.
China also plans to establish a base at the south pole of the moon and will send robotic missions to asteroids and to Jupiter near 2030.
Last week, China sent three astronauts to a space station that has not yet been built, in the first Chinese manned mission since 2016, expanding its growing presence near Earth and challenging America’s leadership in this field.
(Prepared by Mustafa Saleh for the Arab Bulletin – Editing by Amal Abu Al-Saud)
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