Beijing: China is planning a three-phase Mars space mission to collect samples from the Red Planet by 2030, the chief scientist of the country`s lunar orbiter project said today.
The three stages are remote sensing, soft-landing, exploration and return after collecting automatic sampling, Ouyang Ziyuan said at a lecture organised by Chinese Society of Astronautics.
Ouyang also briefed on the tests of China`s lunar probe of the Chang`e-3, a moon-landing orbiter expected to be launched in the second half of 2013, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
The Chang`e-3 programme could help build a telecommunication network that covers a future Mars probe, Ouyang said.
He said that Chang`e-5 was expected to return to earth with samples from the moon.