China has plans to launch four deep space missions by 2030, and one of those projects will include launching its own Mars lander. The nation anticipates launching multiple Mars probes, the first scheduled for a 2020 launch with the goal of putting a lander on the Red Planet. Assuming it is successful, the rover would join NASA’s still-operational Curiosity and InSight landers.
China revealed its mission plans amid the announcement of a ‘Mars simulation base’ located in the nation’s Qinghai Province. The destination officially opened its doors last Friday, inviting in participants who can experience a simulated Mars environment, including ‘natural features’ similar to the ones found on Mars.
The base is open to the public and intended to help encourage the idea of space travel and exploration among the younger generations. According to a state announcement, construction on this simulated base began last summer; the project had an approximately $22 million budget.
The country has successfully placed a rover on the moon’s far side, but it wants to follow that up with a lander on the Red Planet. Few details about this upcoming mission have been disclosed, though officials did say China plans to put a probe into orbit around Mars. Presumably that would be used to capture images and facilitate the rover’s communications with Earth.
As for China’s other three planned ‘deep space’ missions, state officials said that one involved asteroids and another involved Jupiter. It’s unclear what the fourth planned mission will concern, but it may still be a decade away from launch based on the nation’s announcement timeline.