Wu Yanhua, deputy head of the China National Space Administration said at a news conference Monday that the next step in China's lunar exploration program, the Chang'e 5 mission, will take place around the end of this year.
The model of Chang'e 5 robotic probe (File photo: VCG)
The Chang'e 5 robotic probe is designed to collect samples and bring them back to Earth, which will make China the third nation in the world to bring lunar samples back after the United States and Russia. Wu also said that the country's first Mars mission is scheduled around 2020.
According to Wu, the Chang'e-6 mission will be designed to bring samples back from the South Pole of the moon.
The Chang'e-7 mission will carry out comprehensive surveys around the South Pole, including studying terrain and landform, physical composition as well as the space environment in the region.
The Chang'e-8 mission, in addition to scientific surveys and experiments, will test key technologies to lay the groundwork for the construction of a science and research base on the moon.
(With input from Xinhua)