China is planning its first manned mission to Mars in 2033 with regular follow-up flights as part of a long-term plan to build a permanently manned base on the Red Planet and extract its resources.
The ambitious plan, which will intensify the US race to colonize Mars, was first revealed in detail after China landed a robotic rover on Mars on its first mission on the planet in mid-May.
At the recent space exploration conference held in Russia via video link, Wang Xiaojun, president of China’s largest rocket manufacturer, said the crew should take off to Mars in 2033, 2035, 2037, 2041 and beyond.
Before the start of the manned missions, China will send robots to Mars to investigate potential base locations and build resource extraction systems there, the official China Space News reported on Wednesday, citing Wang, head of the China Launch Vehicle Academy. Technique.
For human colonization on Mars, crews must be able to use the planet’s resources, such as extracting water from beneath its surface, generating oxygen on site, and producing electricity.
China should also develop technologies to bring astronauts back to Earth.
The mission of the unmanned round-trip flight is to take soil samples from the planet by the end of the 2000s.
NASA, the US space agency, was developing technology to take a crew to Mars and back sometime in the 1930s.
Wang said China’s plan for Mars is to move fleets of spacecraft between Earth and Mars, unlocking vast resources.
In order to reduce travel time, Wang said, the spacecraft must use conventional chemical fuels in addition to the energy released during nuclear reactions in the form of heat and electricity.
China is required to operate return flights with a total flight duration of “a few hundred days”.
China also plans to establish a base on the south pole of the Moon and deploy robotic missions to asteroids and Jupiter by 2030.
Last week, in its first manned mission since 2016, China sent three astronauts to an incomplete space station to expand its growing presence near Earth and challenge US leadership in orbital space.