China launches ambitious Tianwen-1 Mars rover mission China launches ambitious Tianwen-1 Mars rover mission
China’s first fully homegrown Mars mission is on its way to the Red Planet. The Tianwen-1 mission launched atop a Long March 5 rocket... China launches ambitious Tianwen-1 Mars rover mission

China’s first fully homegrown Mars mission is on its way to the Red Planet.

The Tianwen-1 mission launched atop a Long March 5 rocket from Hainan Island’s Wenchang Satellite Launch Center this morning (July 23) at 12:41 a.m. EDT (0441 GMT).

Tianwen-1 consists of an orbiter and a lander/rover duo, a combination of craft that had never before launched together toward the Red Planet. The ambition of Tianwen-1 is especially striking given that it’s China’s first stab at a full-on Mars mission. (The nation did launch a Red Planet orbiter called Yinghuo-1 in November 2011, but the spacecraft flew piggyback with Russia’s Phobos-Grunt mission. And that launch failed, leaving the probes trapped in Earth orbit.)

“Tianwen-1 is going to orbit, land and release a rover all on the very first try, and coordinate observations with an orbiter,” team members wrote in a recent Nature Astronomy paper outlining the mission’s main objectives. “No planetary missions have ever been implemented in this way. If successful, it would signify a major technical breakthrough.”

If all goes according to plan, Tianwen-1 will arrive at the Red Planet in February 2021. The lander/rover pair will touch down on the Martian surface two to three months later somewhere within Utopia Planitia, a large plain in the planet’s Northern Hemisphere that also welcomed NASA’s Viking 2 lander in 1976.

Credit SPACE.COM

Condividi:
Google+Tweet about this on Twittershare on TumblrShare on FacebookPin on Pinterest

No comments so far.

Be first to leave comment below.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *