Mexico City: Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez said Friday his country would be able to send a mission to Mars after 2030.
"Venezuela has stepped onto the road to space," Chavez said on national television. "Nobody has ever reached Mars but Venezuela will. It`s our goal for 2030-2040."
The announcement comes at a time when Venezuela is preparing to send a second satellite into Earth`s orbit with Chinese aid.
Chavez unveiled Friday a model of the satellite, named Miranda after Venezuelan revolutionary Francisco de Miranda who fought for independence of Spanish American colonies.
The $140-million Earth observation satellite will be used to monitor troop movements and illegal mining as well as study climate change and the environment.
The launch has been set for October 2012, four years after the launch of Simon Bolivar, the first-ever Venezuelan satellite also built with Chinese assistance.