The next Mars mission is about to start. The next Mars expedition is just around the corner after the United Arab Emirates ‘Hope’ mission has reached space: The Chinese space agency CNSA is expected to set off for the red planet on July 23. With their Tianwen-1 mission, they plan to land on Mars.
Three missions to Mars will start in July. In addition to the United States and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) mission, which has already begun, the National Chinese Space Agency (CNSA) also wants to set off for the red planet. The launch date is July 23. There is no current information about a postponement or confirmation of the appointment.
Tianwen-1 is the first Chinese space mission to target Mars. The mission owes the name “Tianwen” (Chinese for “questions to heaven”) to a poem by Qu Yuan (340-278 BC), a famous poet of ancient China. The mission from the Chinese Wenchang satellite launch center on Hainan Island will launch into space with a “Long March 5” rocket. Once there, Tianwen-1 will embark on a seven-month journey to the red planet. In February 2021 it should reach this.
Arrival And Landing Site
There Tianwen-1 is said to go into an elliptical orbit around the northern polar caps. His one-year scientific mission begins. After the first two to three months, the next milestone of the mission will be initiated: With a landing vehicle, the CNSA wants to bring a Mars rover to the surface of the red planet. That is planned for April 2021.
The “Utopia Planitia” area was chosen as the landing site – a larger lowland in the northern lowland hemisphere of Mars. The US lander of the Viking-2 spacecraft landed in this region as early as 1976. To determine the exact landing site, Chinese scientists have examined the weather and dust levels over the past eight years. They described their findings in an article on July 13, 2020, in the magazine “Nature Astronomy”.
Orbiters And Rovers Explore The Planet
The two vehicles will examine Mars from the ground and the air. The orbiter is supposed to carry out a global and comprehensive survey of the entire planet. He also maintains contact with the rover. The orbiter can then take this to scientifically relevant locations. There the rover can carry out a detailed examination and take high-resolution photos.
The five scientific goals of the Tianwen-1 mission include:
- mapping the outer shape and geological structure of the Martian surface;
- to investigate the properties of the Martian surfaces and the water distribution;
- examining the composition of surface materials such as rock and dust samples;
- the measurement of the ionosphere, the part of the high atmosphere that contains large amounts of ions and free electrons. In addition, the properties of the Martian climate and environment are to be measured on the surface; and ultimately
- the physical fields such as the electromagnetic and gravitational fields as well as the internal structure of the red planet are measured.
What Makes The Mission So Unique?
The Tianwen-1 mission is different from previous Mars missions. It’s not just the first Chinese space mission to Mars. It is the first mission with an all-in-one try character. That means the CNSA wants to put an orbiter into orbit, land a landing vehicle on the surface of Mars, and bring a rover for local exploration on its first visit. If the CNSA succeeds, it could save a lot of time for future missions.
The ideal time window for a trip to Mars is only open every 26 months. That’s when Earth and Mars are closest. A Mars mission would therefore not have to be tested in small increments over many years. However, only about half of all Mars missions have been successful to date. So there is still a high risk of failure. The Chinese space agency still has a number of hurdles to overcome before it can be successful – perhaps by then, the CNSA’s own media presence will also be increased.