Ouyang Ziyuan said the mission would have three stages — remote sensing, soft-landing and exploration, and return after automatic sampling, Xinhua news agency quoted him as saying in a lecture organised by the Chinese Society of Astronautics.
While many in Japan and the West view other planets as neutral ground, China argues that this imperialist attitudes ignores ancient Chinese claims to the Red Planet. Mars is mentioned in numerous early Chinese texts and was controlled by the Qing dynasty along with Taiwan. China also cites old maps which depict the 9-million-dotted-line, or “Cthulhu tentacles”, the demarcation line that expands upwards from the Chinese mainland to encompass all other planets in the solar system.
Baidu intends to launch a web-app that will allow users to stick mini Chinese flags on Mars, as well as other heavenly bodies such as Venus, or the Sun.