China and Russia Announce Joint Mars Mission

China has announced that it will be entering a joint venture with Russia to send a satellite to survey Mars.

China and Russia will mount a joint effort to explore Mars and one of its moons in 2009, Chinese state media reported on Wednesday following an agreement to boost cooperation between the two ambitious space powers.

A Russian rocket will lift a Chinese satellite and Russian exploration vehicle to survey Mars and Phobos, the innermost and biggest of the red planet’s moons, the China Daily reported, citing China’s National Space Administration.

The announcement followed an agreement signed on Monday in Moscow, where Chinese President Hu Jintao has been visiting.

I know I’m not alone in really, really hoping that this ends up sparking a space race to put a man on Mars first. Space exploration could sorely use that kind of boost right now. Even better would be if all the governments involved lose that race to a private company.

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Alex Knapp
About Alex Knapp
Alex Knapp is Associate Editor at Forbes for science and games. He was a longtime blogger elsewhere before joining the OTB team in June 2005 and contributed some 700 posts through January 2013. Follow him on Twitter @TheAlexKnapp.


  1. I couldn’t agree more.

  2. John McClure says:

    The only thing that will boost the space race is if the US puts 10 billion up in prizes for everything from inexpensive launch vehicles to highly efficient propulsion.

    The only thing that will propel a real space race is the economics of it. If going to space will create wealth, people will go there in droves.

  3. jwb says:

    John: we don’t have the spare money, because we pissed it away killing people who don’t look like us from the other side of the planet. With the trillion dollars we could have established a moon base. Sigh.

  4. Anderson says:


    Sorry, I just had to say that.

    “Red” Planet indeed.

  5. JohnG says:

    Well we had enough spare money lying around to pork up the emergency defense spending bill, maybe we can borrow some of that money for the space program.