China plans to send its first manned mission to Mars in 2033. More flights to the ‘Red Planet’ will follow in the following years, the head of a major Chinese missile manufacturer said.
China is particularly ambitious in space and has recently set foot on Mars. Manned flights to that planet are planned for 2033, 2035, 2037, 2041, and beyond, Wang Xiaojun of the Chinese Academy of Launcher Technology (CALT) said via video link at a conference in Russia.
The Chinese plan to send robots to Mars first. They will look for the best place to build a base. They also have to install systems to, for example, extract water and generate oxygen and electricity. Human space travellers can then make use of this.
Sending people to Mars is already a huge challenge, but it doesn’t stop there. China also has yet to figure out a way to retrieve the astronauts and return them to Earth. Wang expressed the hope that new technology will make it possible to fly back and forth in ‘several hundreds of days’.
China also sent astronauts, which it calls taikonauts, to its own space station orbiting Earth this month. The country also wants to set up a moon base and send unmanned missions to asteroids and the planet Jupiter.