China capable of exploring Mars: scientist
Updated: 2014-03-01 14:46
China has the capability of exploring the planet Mars, Ye Peijian, a top scientist with the Chang'e-3 program, the country's lunar probe mission, told Xinhua on Saturday.
China is capable of sending a probe to circle Mars and having it land on the planet, Ye said, adding that the country has no problems with tracking control and communications technology.
China's space missions have seen systematic development. The Chang'e-3 lunar probe, a part of the second phase of the country's lunar program, soft-landed on the Moon on December 14, with the nation's first moon rover Yutu (Jade Rabbit) aboard.
Ye said China improved ground stations and tackled many problems concerning control and communications especially during the second phase of its lunar program.
"But the time to go [to Mars] will depend on the country's budget and decision," the scientist said.
Mars is considered the most Earth-like planet in the solar system. Currently, it takes about 10 months to send a probe from Earth to Mars.
So far, human beings have made over 40 attempts to explore Mars but more than half of them have failed. Among 13 landing missions, only seven probes sent signals back after landing on the planet.
A Russian spacecraft carrying China's first Mars-exploration probe, Yinghuo-1, was launched on November 9, 2011 and crashed on January 15, 2012.