After the UAE, China has now managed to settle in the orbit of Mars. China will not only go a step further, but will try to land on Mars’ surface next May.
China, one of the rising powers of space exploration, left behind a major milestone in Tianwen-1 (Questions to the Skies), the first Mars mission in its history. Tianwen-1, which was launched into space last summer, managed to enter the orbit of Mars today (February 10) after about seven months of space adventure. The Chinese researchers, who published a statement on the subject, said that Tianwen-1 was perfectly in orbit and the spacecraft was in very good health.
Mars, the red planet of our Solar System, is experiencing heavy traffic this month. On February 9, the UAE’s spacecraft ‘Hope’ was placed in orbit of Mars. Today, news of success came from China’s Tianwen-1. NASA’s Perseverance mission is expected to reach the Red Planet on February 18 next week. China and NASA will also try to land on the surface, unlike the UAE.
China’s landing trial is expected to take place next May. Chinese researchers will track the Red Planet from orbit for about four months prior to the historic landing and try to determine the best location for landing. It was announced that the traveler will land in the region of Mars called Utopia Planitia, but the exact position in Utopia Planitia has not yet been decided.
An orbital probe, a landing craft, and a navigator are currently in orbit
We can say that there is almost no Tianwen-1 mission in China. Today, the Far East country has managed to place an orbital probe, a landing craft and a Mars rover in Tianwen-1 orbit of the Red Planet. Thanks to this trio, it is aimed to examine Mars in detail both from the orbit and from the surface.
The most important part of the mission will of course be the traveler. For the first time in Chinese history, it will attempt to land a spacecraft on another planet. The observation vehicle, powered by solar energy, is aimed to serve at least 90 days on Mars.
The Chinese Mars rover, whose name is not yet known, will be landed in the region called Utopia Planitia in the northern hemisphere of Mars. NASA’s Viking 2 vehicle was also landed in the same area in 1976. China will conduct both surface and atmosphere surveys in this region.
Another important part of the Tianwen-1 mission will be the orbital probe. This probe is expected to examine the mineralogical and magnetosphere structure of Mars in orbit, as well as take high-resolution surface photographs. Chinese researchers also stated that the probe will settle in an elliptical orbit around Mars. Accordingly, the probe will observe at a minimum of 265 kilometers and a maximum of 12 thousand kilometers from the surface along the orbit.
The purpose of the landing vehicle, one of the three parts of the Tianwen-1 mission, is to successfully land the traveler, as its name suggests. The landing vehicle is not expected to do any scientific work on the surface, nor does it have any mobility. Exploring the surface of Mars will be the task of the rover, that is, the observation tool.
China wants to be the second country to land on Mars
In the Tianwen-1 mission, it was announced that the landing attempt would take place next May, but no exact day was given. The orbit and observation vehicles, which are currently together in orbit, will separate from each other and move towards their mission prior to the landing attempt. If the observer can land successfully on the Red Planet surface, China will be the second country capable of soft landing on Mars.
Landing an observatory on Mars makes space agencies incredibly challenging due to the planet’s thin atmosphere. NASA is the most experienced and successful space agency in this field. Even though the Soviet Space Program, NASA and the European Space Agency have tried to land a spacecraft on the Red Planet, only NASA has been successful.