Sunday, October 1

China wants to bring back samples from Mars before NASA | Digital Trends Spanish

China aims to bring the first rock samples from mars to Earth in 2031, two years before the POT plan to perform the coveted feat.

The ambitious Tianwen-3 sample return mission was outlined this week by Sun Zezhou, chief designer of China’s current Mars rover and orbiter mission, it said. SpaceNews on Monday.

To achieve the collection and delivery of rock samples from Mars, China plans to launch a spacecraft to the Red Planet in late 2028 on a mission that would end with sample delivery to Earth in July 2031.

Part of the reason for the tighter time frame is the simplicity of China’s proposed mission, which, unlike NASA’s more complex plan, would involve a single landing on Mars and a simpler sample collection process.

The China National Space Administration (CNSA) demonstrated last year that it has the technology to reach Mars and deploy a rover on the surface. Returning samples to Earth requires several additional steps, including flying the material into space on an ascent vehicle, transferring it to an Earth-bound spacecraft, traveling back to Earth, and releasing a capsule containing the samples for the Final descent to the ground.

Mars Express / ESA

The CNSA and NASA missions are highly complex and require a great deal of research and testing, with both space agencies well aware that there is a potential for things to go wrong at any stage.

But for scientists, the rewards of successfully delivering samples to Earth could be huge. The opportunity to use advanced laboratory equipment to study material from Mars offers the best chance of determining whether any life ever existed on the Red Planet. Such a discovery could help scientists unravel some of the mysteries of the origins of life here on our own planet.

China has been pumping huge amounts of money into its growing space program, which in addition to Mars and lunar missions also includes the recent launch of its own low-Earth orbit space station. The nation’s president, Xi Jinping, said the new space station will open “new horizons” as humans seek to learn more about the cosmos.

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