Model of China's first Venus probe unveiled in Shanghai
The spacecraft is an exhibit belonging to the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), the main contractor for China's space programme.
The probe, likely a prototype, would have a total mass of 2.35 tonnes, including a small 90kg 'floating' atmospheric probe, cased in the conical protective cover in the above photo.
A mission to Venus has been stated in Chinese exploration strategy outlines previously, but no firm dates nor official approval have been announced. Rough timelines put launch around 2025.
According to a paper produced by top space programme scientists Zou Yongliao, Li Wei and Ouyang Ziyuan, the Venus exploration orbiter will study the formation, evolution and structure of the atmosphere, and look at phenomena including lightning and airglow, the greenhouse effect and atmospheric circulation.
The mission will also aim to study the ionosphere and magnetosphere and how they interact with the atmosphere, and make detections that will aid understanding of Venusian topography, geology and the internal structure of the planet.
China's deep space plans
Other missions outlined for before 2030 include robotic visits to Jupiter and major asteroids within the main belt.
On Thursday China will launch a new Long March 5 rocket that will make many of the deep space missions outlined above possible.