China plans to land a rover on Mars when the opportunity presents itself in 2020, the country’s chief aerospace engineer said Friday.
Ye Peijian, the chief designer of the country’s state lunar exploration mission, said that Mars makes a close approach to Earth every 28 months, presenting a short window of opportunity for a probe launch.
"We will not make it by 2018 but we can try to launch a probe in 2020," Ye Peijian was quoted by the Sina news website as saying.
The scientist said earlier that China had all the technology it needed for a successful launch.
China has been eyeing the Red Planet after it put a rover on the Moon in 2013.
Its ambitious space program also includes a permanent space station and manned flights to the Moon and Mars.
Published time 21:38 Toronto