Mars Receives Second Visitor in a Week As China Arrives
China’s Tianwen-1 spacecraft has entered orbit around Mars and is the second in two days to accomplish this feat, following the arrival of the United Arab Emirates’ Hope orbiter on Tuesday.
Tianwen-1, translated as “Questions to Heaven”, is characterized by its ambitious three-part payload consisting of an orbiter, a lander and a rover. This is the first time that a space agency has sent three such ships to Mars at the same time.
The orbiter will use its scientific instruments to learn more about the atmosphere and climate of Mars while mapping the planet’s surface. The lander will attempt to get the rover into the planet’s Utopia Planitia, a vast plain dotted with rocks. There, the Martian landscape is examined for evidence of current and past life. Tianwen-1 has already sent back some goodies and beamed an image to Earth last week as it approached Mars from around a million miles away.
Zhang Kejian, director of the China National Space Administration, commented on the arrival on Mars on Wednesday seven months after Tianwen-1 was launched aboard a Long March-5 rocket: “The exploration of the vast universe is the common one Dream of all humanity. We will work together sincerely and go hand in hand with countries around the world to further advance humanity’s exploration of space. “
China now proudly stands alongside the United Arab Emirates, the United States, Europe, India, and the former Soviet Union as one of only a handful of nations to have made it to Mars.
The Asian giant has clearly got going with its growing space program. This is the first completely self-built mission to Mars and follows a recent successful moon landing that involved a transport of moonstones to Earth.
Now that the UAE and China have successfully reached the red planet, all eyes are on NASA’s Perseverance mission, due to arrive on February 18. The team aims to land its rover on the surface of Mars at the beginning of an ambitious expedition to provide scientists with more information about the fourth rock of the sun.