According to the China National Space Administration, China plans to send a robotic probe to Mars around 2020. It will conduct scientific research on the soil and atmosphere and search for signs of water, The probe will consist of three parts-an orbiter, lander and rover. The rover will have six wheels and four solar panels, and will carry 13 scientific instruments, weighing about 200 kilograms. It will work 92 days on the planet, according to the probe’s chief designer. A larger probe will set off for Mars around 2030 to take samples and return to Earth. As to OUYANG Ziyuan, former chief scientist of China’s lunar program, robots will be essential in supporting human activity during Mars missions. As the Martian environment has low atmospheric pressure and low temperatures, robots can help astronauts produce and transport construction materials, build facilities and operate bases. In the long term, human explorers can figure out ways to increase greenhouse gases in the Martian atmosphere to warm up the planet and to melt ice on the surface. Then they can farm and mine from permanent bases.

CAS news release, August 28, 2017