China to explore Mars with Russia this year

Jan 02, 2011
People pass in front of models of Long March rocket at the Sichuan Science and Technology Museum in Chengdu, southwestern China. The country's first Mars probe is expected to be launched in October this year in a joint operation with Russia after a two-year delay, state media reported Sunday.

China's first Mars probe is expected to be launched in October this year in a joint operation with Russia after a two-year delay, state media reported Sunday.

The probe, Yinghuo-1, was due to blast off in October 2009 with Russia's "Phobos Explorer" from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan but the launch was postponed, the official Xinhua news agency said.

Quoting an unnamed expert at the China Academy of Space Technology, the report said the blast-off had been pushed back to October this year. It added that China planned to launch a Mars probe on its own in 2013.

According to previous reports, the orbiter is due to probe the Martian space environment with a special focus on what happened to the water that appears to have once been abundant on the planet's surface.

has already begun probing the and this will be the next step in its ambitious space exploration programme, which it aims to be on a par with those of the United States and Russia.

It currently has a probe -- the Chang'e 2 -- orbiting the moon and carrying out various tests in preparation for the expected 2013 launch of the Chang'e-3, which it hopes will be its first unmanned .

It also became the world's third nation to put a man in space independently -- after the United States and -- when Yang Liwei piloted the one-man Shenzhou-5 in 2003.

Explore further: Biomarkers of the deep

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

China preps next lunar space mission

Sep 10, 2010

China is on track to launch its second lunar satellite by year's end, as the country pursues its plans for a manned mission to the moon by 2020, state media said Friday.

Russia delays Mars probe launch until 2012: report

Sep 16, 2009

Russia will pushed back its flagship satellite mission to Mars' moon until 2011 in a move which will delay the joint launch of China's first Mars probe, space sources were cited as saying Wednesday.

Recommended for you

Biomarkers of the deep

1 hour ago

Tucked away in the southwest corner of Spain is a unique geological site that has fascinated astrobiologists for decades. The Iberian Pyrite Belt (IPB) in Spain's Río Tinto area is the largest known deposit ...

User comments : 10

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Egleton
3 / 5 (2) Jan 02, 2011

There are few who still argue that space industries are a waste of money. (telecommunication satellites, GPS satellites, Weather satellites. . .)

Whoever gets to colonize Legrange 1 and 2 (L1&L2) will be the gatekeepers to the Universe.

Access to the cosmos will be by invitation only.
nanotech_republika_pl
2 / 5 (2) Jan 02, 2011
So can't they just push the ISS to one of those points after it expires at the low orbit in 10 years? Would that be more economic as compared to sending rockets and material from the surface of the Earth?
Quantum_Conundrum
1.3 / 5 (4) Jan 02, 2011
So can't they just push the ISS to one of those points after it expires at the low orbit in 10 years? Would that be more economic as compared to sending rockets and material from the surface of the Earth?


by "colonize" he means actually build a space refinery to harvest materials and at least fuels from asteroids and comets. This would allow re-fueling in space, which in turn allows much longer space missions.

I believe this requires advanced nanotechnology, i.e. 15 or more years away, to make it economical.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (5) Jan 02, 2011
So can't they just push the ISS to one of those points after it expires at the low orbit in 10 years?


The closest Lagrange point (L1) in the earth-moon system is at an altitude of about 320000km above the earth.

The ISS currently travels at an altitude of between 280 and 460km.

So, no: Towing the ISS there is not an option (and we are not yet able to build (and regularly supply!) space stations that far above the earth.
nanotech_republika_pl
5 / 5 (1) Jan 02, 2011
@antialias
... but as comparing to hauling the material from earth gravity well, would that be cheaper nevertheless? And if it is but we don't have the technology (even in 10 years) to go either way from the Earth or low orbit, then what are we worrying about? Are we talking like 2030 or 2040 for Lagrange point space station construction?
DamienS
4.7 / 5 (3) Jan 02, 2011
but as comparing to hauling the material from earth gravity well, would that be cheaper nevertheless?

It would take a lot of energy to move something so massive into such a position and isn't feasible now or any time soon. Also keeping it resupplied would be much harder and more expensive, given the distance from Earth.
And if it is but we don't have the technology (even in 10 years) to go either way from the Earth or low orbit, then what are we worrying about?

Who's worried? :)
antialias_physorg
4.6 / 5 (5) Jan 03, 2011
Are we talking like 2030 or 2040 for Lagrange point space station construction?

Seeing that there aren't even preliminary plans for stations at Lagrange points the timeline is rather later - if at all. (I'd say we won't see such construction until very late this century - and that only if there are no major problems from global warming, overpopulation, or wars over the last resources/water which force us to concentrate our efforts on earth)

There's also no real reason for humans to be at the Langrange points. I see no point for building a _manned_ station there.

Unmanned sattelites are a different thing, though. The Webb space telescope is targeted for the L2 point of the earth-sun system (launch will be 2014 or 2015)

Also note that these 'points' are rather large. Many sattelites can fit there. So having a station there does not confer exclusive usage rights.
Egleton
3 / 5 (2) Jan 03, 2011
Yes, I do mean a exodus from Earth to L1,2 and beyond.
Hard? Yes.
Impossible? We don't know, it has never been tried.(It has however, been planned by O'Neil et al.)
Compared with problems that we face here with global warming, exponential population growth, resource wars etc, it will be a walk in the park.
We also need to focus world attention away from home towards a common goal, or we will be at each other's throats over the scraps here, where we live the low life in two dimensions.
Once we decide to go, it will seem no more remarkable than getting on a Jumbo Jet.
New things always seem odd to our logical left brain.
Egleton
5 / 5 (1) Jan 03, 2011
"Is the surface of a planet really the right place for an expanding technological civilization?"[20] His students' research convinced him that the answer was no.[20]
Quote from wikipaedia. search for Gerard K O'Neill.
DamienS
4 / 5 (3) Jan 03, 2011
Yes, I do mean a exodus from Earth to L1,2 and beyond.
Hard? Yes. Impossible? We don't know, it has never been tried.

Sure, it hasn't been tried, but it's obvious that it isn't impossible technically. It's just a matter of will and justifiable reason to do it.
Compared with problems that we face here with global warming, exponential population growth, resource wars etc, it will be a walk in the park.

Perhaps, but you still need a good reason to do it, especially when cash-strapped states could deploy their resources to addressing some of the problems you mention.
We also need to focus world attention away from home towards a common goal

Idealistic sentiment. It won't happen unless there is an asteroid headed our way with years of warning, otherwise who determines the common goal?
Once we decide to go, it will seem no more remarkable than getting on a Jumbo Jet.

I don't think it will happen like that, best bet is private enterprise and the profit motive.