China is planning to send an exploration rover to Mars by 2020, the Beijing News reported, citing Ouyang Ziyuan, chief scientist of the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program.
Ouyang said on Monday that China plans to conduct deep space exploration, targeting Mars and the solar system.
An exploration rover and orbiter will attempt to find out if life exists on Mars, Ouyang said, adding that samples from the planet would be brought back to Earth by 2030.
China has plans for solar system exploration as well, according to Ouyang. Goals include looking for life signs on planets and researching the system’s origins, formation and evolution.
Over the past years, China has made many achievements in exploring outer space. Tiangong-1, China’s first space station, was launched in 2011. Last year, the country sent its first unmanned lunar rover Yutu to the Moon.
The Chinese Lunar Exploration Program is known as the Chang’e program. All spacecraft in the program are named after Chang’e, the goddess of the Moon in Chinese mythology.