China has unveiled concept images of the rover it hopes will survey the surface of Mars during a three month exploration in 2020.
It is the latest in a series of projects announced as part of China’s expanding space exploration programme.
The Chinese government is aiming for a manned Moon landing before 2036 and is even considering the feasibility of a giant lunar radar base.
Reuters reported that the Mars rover will study the soil, environment, and atmosphere of Mars, in addition to its physical fields, the distribution of water and ice, and its inner structure.
The vehicle will have have six wheels, weigh 60kg more than the rover China sent to the Moon and be powered by four solar panels.
It will come equipped with 13 payloads, including a remote sending camera and ground-penetrating radar.
After a seven month journey, the rover will separate from its probe, touching down in the northern hemisphere of Mars, Xhinua reported.
The region is reported to receive less sunlight than the equator, but presents better geographic conditions.
Zhang Rongqiao, chief architect of the Mars mission, said: “The challenges we face are unprecedented.”
President Xi Jinping is keen for China to establish itself as a space power.
China insists its intentions are peaceful, but the US Defense Department says it is pursuing projects designed to prevent adversaries from using space-based assets in a crisis, Reuters reported. Beijing has tested anti-satellite missiles.
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