China is aiming for a July launch for its ambitious plans for a Mars mission that would include the inclusion of remote-controlled robots on the surface of the red planet, the project in-charge has said.
Beijing has invested billions of dollars in its space program in an effort to capture its rival America and confirm its position as a major world power.
The Mars mission is one of several new space projects that China is pursuing, including placing Chinese astronauts on the moon in 2022 and having a space station.
Beijing had been planning a Mars mission for some time this year, but the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) has confirmed that it may arrive in early July.
“It is going ahead as a big plan and we are aiming for a launch in July,” CASC said in a statement released on Sunday.
CASC is the main contractor for China’s space program.