China plans to land on Mars by 2020

World Today

FILE – In thi Nov. 4, 2014, file photo, visitors to the 16th China International Industry Fair (CIIF) look at a prototype of what a Chinese Mars rover would look like in Shanghai, China. Head of the China National Space Administration Xu Dazhe said Friday, April 22, 2016 at a rare news conference that plans are being drawn up for the project that was formally announced in January and that it has the government’s full support. (Chinatopix Via AP, File)

China plans to land a rover on Mars around the year 2020, the head of the country’s space program said on Friday.

Xu Dazhe, head of the China National Space Administration, said at a news conference in Beijing the project has the full support of the government.

China’s Mars mission will attempt to recreate the success of the U.S. Viking 1 mission, which landed a rover on the red planet four decades ago.

Xu said China will further explore civilian uses of space technology, such as for navigation, remote sensing, and communications.

China will also seek international collaborations.

China staged its first human mission in space in 2003 and also plans to launch a permanent space station.

China has been stepping up efforts in space exploration. Authorities have released a detailed blueprint for the next few years. CCTV’s Meng Qingsheng has more.

Story by the Associated Press