Wu Weiren, a member of the Standing Committee of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and the chief designer of China’s lunar exploration program, stated that China plans to carry out a Mars sample-return mission by 2030, according to China Daily.
According to Wu, the mission is far more challenging than the lunar sample-return mission, and the first obstacle is to develop a carrier rocket with higher thrust. On May 15, 2021, China’s first Mars exploration rover successfully arrived on Mars, but there was no return route design.
Meanwhile, China intends to explore the solar system’s edges in the future. On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the founding of New China, China will complete 100 astronomical units, about 15 billion kilometres, of deep space exploration in 2049.
Previously, NASA also announced that it would bring back Mars samples collected by its Perseverance rover. The plan is to launch two spacecraft in 2026, reach Mars in 2028, and bring samples back to Earth by 2031.