China aims to bring Mars samples to Earth 2 years before NASA, ESA mission

Sun Zezhou, chief designer of the Tianwen-1 Mars orbiter and rover mission,

The complex, multi-launch mission will have simpler architecture in comparison with the joint NASA-ESA project,

NASA announced plans to delay the next phase of its Mars Sample Return campaign and split a lander mission into two separate spacecraft

ESA’s Earth Return Orbiter would launch in 2027, and the samples would return to Earth in 2033 under the revised schedule

China’s mission, named Tianwen-3, will consist of two combinations: a lander and ascent vehicle, and an orbiter and return module

The combinations will launch separately on Long March 5 and Long March 3B rockets respectively.

The mission will build on the Mars entry, descent and landing technologies and techniques demonstrated by Tianwen-1

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