China launched its first Mars 2020 rover mission which is a 6-wheeled robot covered within a protective probe. The liftoff from Earth took place today via the Long-March 5 rocket from Wenchang spaceport on Hainan Island at 12:40 local time (10:10 IST). The rover is going to land on Mars somewhere in the latter half of 2021.
However, it will arrive at the orbit of the Red Planet by February 2021. Tianwen-1 is a Chinese rocket whose name translates to sound “Questions to Heaven” where the rover will not actually land on the surface of the Red Planet for almost two or three months. The wait-and-see strategy is a tried and tested one which was successfully used by the Viking landers in the 1970s.
With today’s launch, China is on its way to join the community of international scientific explorers at Mars. The United States, Europe, Russia, India, and soon the UAE will welcome you to Mars to embark on an exciting year of scientific discovery. Safe travels Tianwen-1!
— Jim Bridenstine (@JimBridenstine) July 23, 2020
China successfully launches the Mars 2020 space mission
The target touchdown location for the Chinese mission is going to be the flat plain within the Utopia impact basin which is just north of the Mars equator. The rover will study the area’s geological characteristics on the surface of the planet and even below it.
Tianwen-1 looks a lot similar to NASA’s Spirit and Opportunity rovers both of which launched in the early 2000s. The rover weighs around 240kg and is powered by fold-out solar panels. Tianwen-1 rover will help China to analyze the surface of the planet and study all its characteristics using various remote sensing tools. The Chinese scientists will love to have at least 90 Martian days of service of the robot. Any less will just be a waste of time.
— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) July 23, 2020
This is the one among the three Martian rovers which are to leave Earth in a matter of just 11 days. This started with the UAE Hope Mars orbiter launch a few days back and will end with the NASA Perseverance rover launch in the next few days.
Let us know what you think of it in the comments section below! Also, don’t forget to join us on our Telegram Channel for more such latest updates and discussions.
Suryapratim Ray is an engineer, author, robotics hobbyist, and an active Quoran. Being a technical blogger, he covers the good, bad, and ugly of science on a regular basis at Sciencenews18. In addition to his passion for writing, he’s equally keen on learning classical music.