Beijing, March 7 (EFE).- China will collect samples from the surface of Mars before 2030, Chinese lunar exploration program chief designer Wu Weiren told state newspaper Global Times on Monday.
Wu, member of China’s People’s Political Consultative Conference, currently meeting in Beijing, said collecting samples on the planet is “much more difficult” than on the Moon and that the first obstacle is “the development of a rocket with higher thrust.”
The Zhurong exploration vehicle, part of the Chinese Tianwen-1 mission, the first from the country to reach the surface of Mars, is currently near the planet.
The mission, which has already beamed more than 500 gigabytes of data back to Earth, landed on the plain known as Utopia Planitia in May, making China the third country to do so, decades after the United States and the former Soviet Union succeeded.
The scientist added that China is already preparing “the exploration of the confines of the Solar System.”
The goal is, according to Wu, for Chinese missions to have traveled in deep space 100 times the distance between the Sun and Earth – 150 million kilometers – by 2049, the year that will mark the centenary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
In recent years, Beijing has invested heavily in its space program, achieving successes such as the Chang’e 4 lunar probe, which landed on the far side of the Moon in January 2019, a milestone never achieved in the history of space exploration.
In addition, the country is building its own space station, the “Tiangong,” which will be ready by the end of this year, according to official forecasts. EFE