China Accelerates Mars Program Slashdot

China has announced it intends to accelerate its Mars program, using experience and expertise from its fledgling lunar program. Following China’s proposed Moon missions, the first phase would send a Mars orbiter to examine and survey the Red Planet; the second phase will involve wheeled robotic probes like China’s Mars Explorer roving vehicle prototype, used to collect and analyze rock samples; and the third phase will involve returning spacecraft from the planet and establishing a permanent automated base on Mars. This puts the China-India space race and the China-USA space race in a very different light.