China wants to steal NASA’s thunder by launching a Mars sample return mission that brings back Martian soil and rocks roughly two years before the U.S.-based space agency can. Currently, NASA’s Mars Sample Return mission is hitting a few snags. These snags could be enough for China to finally get the opportunity it’s been looking forward to.
According to new reports from Science Alert, the Chinese space agency wants to send a crewed mission to Mars within the next decade. China wants to send a Mars Sample Return two years prior to NASA’s proposed Mars mission. This is in preparation for taikonauts landing on Mars.
The mission will be the third in the China National Space Administration’s Tianwen program, as such it’ll be known as Tianwen-3. The mission will consist of a pair of launches in 2028, which will gather samples on the Martian surface and then return them to the planet sometime in July of 2031.
It is unclear whether China has big plans for the Mars sample return mission. However, if they can pull this off before NASA it will open up some exciting possibilities. It is no secret that China has been working hard to get more established in the space exploration field, and the country has managed some intriguing displays over the past few years.
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However, some of those displays have also been cut off much earlier than expected, with the Chinese Mars rover failing to survive a harsh Martian winter earlier this year, making it unable to wake up after a long slumber on the Martian surface. A new paper also says China is also working on new ways to understand the Martian atmosphere.
With the help of a new model for Mars’s atmosphere and plans to carry out its own Mars Sample Return Mission, China has set itself up as a major player in exploration of the Red Planet. How well those plans play out, though, remains to be seen.
The post China wants to complete a Mars sample return mission before NASA appeared first on BGR.