China’s First Mission to Mars Could Launch This Week

China Tianwen-1 spacecraft is ready to launch on a Long March 5. It could launch on July 23, 2020.

China’s national strategy set Mars as the next target for planetary exploration after successful lunar mission. China’s first Mars mission is named Tianwen-1, and aims to complete orbiting, landing and roving in one mission.

The Tianwen-1 probe has a mass (including fuel) of about 5 tonnes. It has an orbiter and a lander/rover composite. The orbiter will provide a relay communication link to the rover, while performing its own scientific observations for one Martian year. The orbit during the scientific observation stage is a polar elliptical orbit (265 km × 12,000 km). The lander/rover will perform a soft landing on the Martian surface some 2–3 months after arrival of the spacecraft, with a candidate landing site in Utopia Planitia. The ~240 kg solar-powered rover is nearly twice the mass of China’s Yutu lunar rovers, and is expected to be in operation for about 90 Martian days.

The main task of Tianwen-1 is to perform a global and extensive survey of the entire planet using the orbiter, and to send the rover to surface locations.

SOURCES – China News, Nature, Global Times
Written By Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com

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