China landed a spacecraft on Mars for the first time and delivered a water-seeking rover to the red planet

China Mars Global Remote Sensing and Small Rover hx1 Mars Mission Illustration Rendering casxinhua

China landed its first spacecraft on the surface of Mars, according to To the state of China media..

The mission, called Tianwen-1, or “Question to Heaven,” is the first mission to send a spacecraft into planetary orbit, drop a landing platform on the surface of Mars, and deploy all rover in one expedition.

If all went according to plan, a gumdrop-shaped landing capsule separated from the Tianwen-1 orbiter and fell towards Mars on Friday night. With the lander and rover safely pushed inside, the capsule plunged into the atmosphere of Mars, friction-heating the surrounding material to temperatures above 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

At a height above the surface of the red dust on Mars, the supersonic parachute had to be deployed to delay the fall of the capsule. As the lander approached its destination, the thrusters should have been fired downwards to slow down. Then it should have lowered itself to the surface of the set of legs to absorb the impact.

China has not released details regarding the condition of the lander or rover. But if all goes well, the landing will make China the third country to successfully install robots on the surface of Mars. This is the first non-NASA Mars landing since the Soviet Union’s Rover landed in 1971.

Tianwen-1 was launched in July 2020, and the spacecraft slipped into orbit around Mars in February. Landing was “the most challenging part of the mission”, formerly CNSA Said.. So far, only half of the spacecraft that have attempted to land on Mars have been successful.

Chinatian Wen 1 Mission Orbiter with Land Rover Capsule
On the way to Mars, the Tianwen-1 spacecraft carries a lander and a rover in a landing capsule. The photo was released on December 16, 2020. CNSA via AP

Today, China’s first Mars lander and rover sit in the middle of the Utopia Planitia. The Utopia Planitia is a vast field of ancient volcanic rock that may have a large amount of water ice buried beneath its surface. If a space agency like NASA someday sends humans to Mars, water will be an important resource as it can support astronauts and break down into hydrogen and oxygen for rocket fuel. It is unlikely that a spacecraft to Mars will carry enough water, oxygen, and hydrogen for the entire round-trip itinerary.

If all goes well, the lander will deploy a two-track ramp for a six-wheeled rover that rolls into the soil of Mars. According to the CNSA, Rover is called Zhurong and is named after the god of fire in ancient Chinese mythology. It is set to explore the area and look for its water ice with ground penetrating radar.

Mars photographed by Chinese Tianwen-1 Orbiter
The surface of Mars photographed by the Tianwen-1 spacecraft orbiting the planet. CNSA via AP

This mission also aims to help China prepare for future attempts to return Martian rocks and soil to Earth in the late 2020s.

“Safe landing on Mars is a major challenge, especially for China’s first soft landing attempt,” said Long Xiao, a planetary scientist at China University of Geosciences. National Geographic Prior to the attempt. “But that’s a necessary step for Mars and deep space exploration.”

Zhurong Mars Rover has 90 days to explore Mars-for now

Chinese Tianwen-1 Zhurong Mars Replica
On March 3, 2021, a replica of the Mars rover of Tianwen-1 is on display at an exhibition in the National Museum in Beijing, China. Tingshu Wang / Reuters

The congratulations are £ 530, about the same size as the Spirit and Opportunity Rover that NASA landed on Mars in 2004. It can take a week or more to unfold the lander’s ramp and roll the rover into Martian soil.Journalist Andrew Jones report For IEEE spectrum. Then open the butterfly wing solar panel to absorb the sunlight and charge the battery.

Once the rover reaches the ground, it will take about 90 days to study Mars. That’s the official mission timeline, but Spirit and Opportunity have the same three-month period, exploring Mars for six and 14 years, respectively.

The orbiter of Tianwen-1 will continue to orbit the red planet for one year on Mars (two years on Earth), relaying the data to Earth and taking pictures. Its main goal is to “perform a global and extensive survey of the entire globe.” Magazine articles According to the scientist of Tianwen-1.

This includes graphing the geology of Mars, investigating its climate, and measuring its electromagnetic and gravitational fields.

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