China shows first images of Mars rover planned for mission in 2020.

China has showed off its first images of a rover it plans to sent to Mars in mid-2020, which is designed to explore the planet surface for three months, state media said, the latest aim of China’s ambitious space program.

China in 2003 became the third country to put a man in space with its own rocket after the former Soviet Union and the United States.

It has touted its plans for moon exploration and in late 2013 completed the first lunar “soft landing” since 1976 with the Chang’e-3 craft and its Jade Rabbit rover.

Chinese Mars rover - photo credit Reuters

Chinese Mars rover – photo credit Reuters

China’s latest manned space mission is due in October and is aiming for a manned moon landing by 2036.

State news agency Xinhua, in a report late on Tuesday, said the 200 kg (441 lb) rover would have six wheels and be powered by four solar panels, two more than the rover China shot to the moon and 60 kg (132 lb) heavier.

“The challenges we face are unprecedented,” Zhang Rongqiao, chief architect of the Mars mission, said, according to Xinhua.

The probe would carry 13 payloads including a remote sensing camera and a ground penetrating radar, on what is expected to be a three-month exploration mission blasting off in July or August 2020, the report added.

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