Among the chosen celebrities is the country's retired basketball star Yao Ming, who played for America’s Houston Rockets in the National Basketball Association.
Yao Ming is now a Chinese ambassador to Mars pic.twitter.com/epQ7Kwo58M— BitsSource (@BitsSource) 10 октября 2016 г.
He isn’t only a famous sportsman, he's also somewhat of an internet celebrity, with his famous laughing face now a popular online meme.
Pence's debate face is Yao Ming laughing meme pic.twitter.com/3tDLANZNea— Marc Schwartz (@Marc_J_Schwartz) 5 октября 2016 г.
His popularity and celebrity, both internationally and in China, should help boost positivity for the costly mission.
Yao Ming, face behind the famous laughing meme on Internet pic.twitter.com/U5t1MpTEjm— Didit FA (@rdiditfa) 12 сентября 2016 г.
In 2008, he led his country at the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony and played in the tournament, despite initially ruling himself out due to injury.
Lang Ping, the coach of the women’s Olympic gold-medal-winning volleyball team also gets the honor of representing her country.
The diplomatic corps also welcomes composer and conductor Tan Dun, guzheng (Chinese traditional plucked musical string instrument) player Yuan Sha, award-winning science-fiction writer Liu Cixin, members of the Chinese teenage boy band TFBOYS, and opera singers Warren Mok, Dai Yuqiang and Wei Song, according to Chinese media.
The nominations are designed to promote the nation’s first mission to Mars in 2020.
"The 11 ambassadors will help publicize the Mars program, encourage interest in science and technology among young Chinese people and promote China’s international image," according to South China Morning Post.
The 2020 mission is set to be launched on a Long March-5 carrier rocket from the Wenchang space launch center in southern China’s Hainan province.
If successful, the mission will make China the second country in history to put a rover on Mars.