China’s Mars mission

China’s Mars mission

A rising space power, China has set its sight on launching a mission to Mars in 2020 to explore the Red Planet.

China launches its first Mars probe
China launched its first independent probe to Mars on Thursday, joining a growing number of countries aiming to lead exploration of Earth’s nearest neighbor. The probe, named Tianwen-1, was launched from the southern island of Hainan and is expected to reach Mars’ gravitational field next February, according to Chinese media. If the 5-tonne probe makes a successful landing on the fourth planet from the sun, it is expected to work for at least 90 Mars days – a little longer than three months on Earth. Tianwen-1 – the name means “questions to heaven” in Mandarin, inspired by an ancient poem by Qu Yuan – consists of an orbiter, a lander and a rover. The lander and rover will attempt a soft land
China’s Mars mission passes landing test for 2020 launch
China has completed a test of its Mars lander, placing the country on track for its first mission to the red planet next year. In the span of several decades, China has emerged from an economic backwater to a rising space power, with recent breakthroughs including the landing of a rover on the far side of the moon. In developing its Mars mission, China is following in the footsteps of the US, which in the 1970s successfully put the Viking landers on Mars and last landed a rover there in November 2018 in its InSight mission.  China’s space program could contribute to international efforts to understand the climate and natural resources on Mars. While it is cold (the average temperature is ab