China could bring first Mars samples to Earth before NASA

China is aiming to bring the first rock samples from Mars to Earth in 2031, two years before NASA plans 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 orbiter and rover mission

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

Unlike NASA, China's proposed mission is a simple with a single Mars landing and a more straightforward sample collection process.

The CNSA and NASA missions are highly complex and require a huge amount of research and testing

Both space agencies well aware that there is the potential for things to go wrong at any stage

China has been pumping huge amounts of money into its growing space program, which besides Mars and lunar missions also includes the recent commissioning of its own space station in low-Earth orbit.


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