The Chinese mission Tianwen-1 arrived on Wednesday after a 203-day journey to the target planet Mars. Tianwen-1 consists of a landing craft, rover and a satellite. The Chinese Space Agency will not attempt to land on Mars until May this year.
Tianwen-1 was launched in July 2020, the same month as the United Arab Emirates and the United States missions to Mars.
The Chinese Mars mission will, among other things, search for traces of life, attempt to map the surface of the planet, investigate the atmosphere, and analyze the surface structure. The word “Tianwen” is a Chinese word meaning “heavenly questions” and refers to a poem from around 300 BC.
If China manages to land in May, it will become the third country to “set foot” on Mars, after the United States and the Soviet Union. Europe tried to land once, but that ended in collapse.
If the landing is successful in May, the solar-powered rover could begin its journey across the surface of Mars.
China made a failed attempt to go to Mars in 2011
The Tianwen-1 mission is the second Chinese attempt to reach Mars. In 2011, the Russian Space Agency Roscosmos launched the Phobos-Grunt mission to recover rocks from Phobos, one of Mars’ moons. This mission also carried the Chinese Yinghuo-1 satellite.
However, Phobos-Grunt remained in orbit because the engines were not running. Two months after its launch, the bomb crashed in the Pacific Ocean.
Construction of a Chinese space station may start this year
China isn’t just targeting Mars. The country also hopes to bring its new space station to low Earth orbit this year, between 350 and 435 kilometers. This station should be approximately 20 meters long and consist of four units. Three astronauts should be able to live at the station at the same time.
Two former Chinese space stations, Tiangong-1 and Tiangong-2, crashed to Earth in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
Chinese astronaut Nie Haisheng entered Tiangong-1 in 2013.
The UAE became the first Arab land on Mars on Tuesday
The United Arab Emirates got it on Tuesday The first Arab country With an interplanetary mission. The “Hope” satellite has successfully reached orbit around the Red Planet and will now conduct research there on the planet’s climate, among other things.
On February 18th, the persistent US Mars rover must land on the celestial body to search for traces of life, among other things. Perseverance also carries a helicopter to test whether it is useful for Mars exploration.