China's increasingly ambitious space program plans to attempt the first-ever landing of a lunar probe on the moon's far side, a leading engineer said.
China says its first lunar rover is experiencing mechanical problems, a rare setback for its burgeoning space program that in recent years has conducted space walks and placed a space station in orbit.
China said Monday it was on track to launch a fifth lunar probe with the aim of bringing back lunar soil and rock samples following the successful moon landing of a space probe.
China launched its first moon rover mission early Monday, the latest step in an ambitious space programme seen as a symbol of its rising global stature.
China is planning to collect samples from the surface of Mars by 2030, according to the chief scientist of the country's lunar orbiter project, state media reported Wednesday.
India plans to launch a space probe that will orbit Mars in November 2013, a senior official from the country's space research establishment said on Monday.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday defended spending millions of dollars on space exploration despite many people in the country living in grinding poverty.
Neil Armstrong's 1969 lunar landing marked a pinnacle of US technological achievement, defining what many saw as the American century, but the next person to set foot on the moon will likely be Chinese.
India's government has cleared plans to put an orbital probe around Mars next year to study the red planet's climate and geology, a report said Saturday.
China has said it will land an exploratory craft on the moon for the first time next year, as part of an ambitious space programme that includes a long-term plan to put a man on the moon.