MOSCOW, February 2. /TASS/. China could take the second place in the world after the United States for the number of interplanetary unmanned missions after 2020 if it manages to implement just a part of its ambitious plans in this sphere, a Russian expert said on Monday.
"In 2017, China plans a mission to count asteroids approaching the Earth and also landing on one of them," the chief designer at Lin Industrial, a Russian manufacturer of carrier rockets, Alexander Ilyin told TASS.
In 2018, China plans to study one of the satellites of Mars using a landing craft and a small rover. The same year, a mission is due to be fulfilled on establishing a space observatory for monitoring the sun’s activity, Ilyin said.
The expert said in 2021 China plans to study one of satellites of Venus and in 2024 it plans a mission for radio-observation of the sun from a polar orbit, and also the delivery of soil from Ceres, the smallest known dwarf planet that lies within the asteroid belt.
"In 2025, there are plans to study Europa, which is Jupiter's satellite. During the flight to Jupiter, the samples of terrestrial life are planned to be taken in a special container to watch its survival," he said.
Ilyin added that in 2027 China plans to fulfill a panoramic observation mission of solar storms, and a year later the country also plans to deliver soil from Mars.