24 October 2019
Chinese scientists are determined to carry out two of the nation's most challenging space endeavors next year: its Chang'e 5 lunar mission and first Mars exploration. Ye Peijian, a leading space exploration researcher at the China Academy of Space Technology, said in Beijing: "We have been improving the overall reliability of the Chang'e 5 mission since it was postponed, and we continue to make plans for all possible contingencies to make sure the program will succeed." The original plan for the Chang'e 5 mission was to launch it at the end of 2017. However, the failure of the second launch of the Long March 5 carrier rocket, the country's largest and mightiest rocket and the one tasked with ferrying the Chang'e 5 probe, led to the lunar mission's delay. Ye also said: "If Chang'e 5 is successful, then we will send Chang'e 6 to the lunar south pole to collect samples and bring them back because it is scientifically important for scientists to survey and investigate the south pole."
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