HUAILAI, China (Reuters) ̵
China is well on its way to launching its Mars mission in 2020, said Zhang Kejian, head of the Chinese National Space Administration, on Thursday. Zhang spoke before the levitation and obstacle avoidance test for the lander.
The space journey will take about seven months, while the landing will take seven minutes, said Zhang Rongqiao, chief architect of the Mars Exploration Program.
The test was conducted at a sprawling landing site in Huailai northwest of Beijing.
China has developed the powerful Long March 5 rocket to transport the probe to Mars in 2020.
The same rocket is expected to bring the Chang & # 39; e-5 probe to the Moon by the end of 2019 or early next year to bring back samples of lunar rocks.
The Chang & # 39; e-4 probe successfully landed on the other side of the moon in January this year. This was a historic premiere and an important achievement for China's space program.
China landed on the moon for the first time in 2013.
China is expected to complete a modular space station around 2022 to orbit the Moon for missions to other parts of the solar system.
In 2003, after the former Soviet Union and the United States, China was the third nation to launch a man with his own rocket.
Since then, it has been trying to catch up with Russia and the US and become an important space dream by 2030.