China aims to return Mars samples before joint NASA-European mission: report

China plans to haul Mars samples to Earth in 2031, two years before NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) aim to do so, according to media reports.

The target date was announced in a Monday (June 20) presentation (opens in new tab) by Sun Zezhou, chief designer of the Tianwen 1 Mars orbiter and rover mission that arrived at the Red Planet in February 2021, according to SpaceNews (opens in new tab).

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