China to launch two Mars probes and explore asteroids

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China’s first Mars probe is expected to be launched in the summer of 2020, with a second mission to the red planet planned for 2030, the Chinese news agency Xinhua reported on Wednesday.

According to an expert from the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), the probe will be launched at the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in the Chinese province of Hainan.

Ye Peijan, a consultant at the state-owned contractor for the country’s space program which was founded in 1956, told Xinhua that China is preparing for the exploration of Jupiter and asteroids in deep-space as well after the completion of the first Mars mission.

The asteroid explorations will aim to collect samples and conduct research in the hope of learning more about the formation of the Solar System and evolution of life on our own planet, Ye explained. China’s scientists are motivated by the search for answers to major scientific questions and by possibly discovering alien life forms in other parts of the universe.

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