CHINA has unveiled its alien-looking-spaceship that it hopes to launch to Mars in 2020
Beijing’s ambitious space program is gathering momentum and the unveiling cements its place as a leader in space exploration.
The mission has not been given a name or a logo, and officials at the the unveiling in the Chinese capital say they will hold a competition to let the public come up with the design and branding.
Zhang Rongqiao, chief architect of the project, said they will be looking to launch the spacecraft by mid-2020 – however it will take at least half a year to reach the Red Planet.
Upon its arrival, part of the spacecraft will orbit Mars while a rover – equipped with ground penetrating radar and a remote sensing camera – will then be deployed and will roam the dusty planet for three months.
A report on the mission read: “The lander will separate from the orbiter at the end of a journey of around seven months and touch down in a low latitude area in the northern hemisphere of Mars where the rover will explore the surface.”
However, Mr Ronggiao said: “The challenges we face are unprecedented.”
China has really upped its efforts in space exploration in recent years in a bid to compete with the US and Europe’s space arms.
It has recently completed work on the world’s largest telescope. Made up of 4,450 panels and with a width of 500m, the Aperture Spherical Telescope, or FAST, is now complete and dwarves Puerto Rico’s 300m-wide Arecibo Observatory – the previous record holder for largest telescope.
Experts in China will be using the vast machine to scan the universe to search for life that doesn’t reside on Earth.
Additionally, according to reports, it has launched an ambitious plan to build a powerful radar on the moon in order to monitor Earth in more detail than has ever been done before.
China was also the third country to land a rover on the moon and hopes for a manned moon landing by 2036.
It will also likely be the third country to have landed a craft on Mars, with the US having already done it, and a joint European and Russian mission recently launched.