We all know that China’s space ambition and capabilities have been growing tremendously in recent years. Today, the hottest topic about China’s space endeavors is that they’re planning to bring a piece of Mars back to Earth. If successful, it will lead to result in major scientific discoveries and great prestige. In addition, it will provide insights into the composition and geology of Mars and possibly clues about Martian life which researchers are eager to know about.
China Plans About Bringing Mars Samples – Revealed
The space mission, named Tianwen-2, is planned for 2028 and should return with Martian samples around 2030. This kind of mission has not been attempted before.
At Deep Space Exploration Technology and Application Forum held in Shenzhen on October 18, Zhang Rongqiao stated that there will be a two-launch profile within the same launch window.
There’s also the possibility of using a single future Long March 9 super-heavy carrier rocket, but the Long March 3B and Long March 5 are far more suitable candidates.
According to Zhang Rongqiao, the Long March 3B rocket will start a lander and ascent vehicle within a heat shield attached to the propulsion module.
A Good Start For China
China already demonstrated its capabilities by having two flagship missions. In 2020 China had demonstrated a successful landing of Zhurong, a solar-powered rover, on Mars. It is the first independent interplanetary mission. Zhurong showed great capabilities of entry, descent, and landing on Mars.
In November 2020, the Chang’e-5 mission successfully delivered lunar samples to Earth. Moreover, it showed the ability to launch, scope, drill, and docking in the lunar orbit.
China’s experience with this mission is crucial especially in planning how to collect and return the Mars samples to earth. They will need to go beyond these technologies to gain success. They need to have at least two to three years to deal with the technologies before doing engineering development.
In addition, China also has plans to collect samples from Earth asteroid Camooarew using two separate sampling methods. The spacecraft, named Zheng He, will go for a main-belt comet 311P/PANSTARRS which could provide additional information and further experience to China when it comes to sampling and deep space explorations in future missions to come.