CNSA reveals status of China’s first Mars exploration mission


On Friday, the China National Space Administration (CNSA) uncloaked the name and the status of China’s first Mars exploration mission – an extraterrestrial breakthrough set to pave the way for their future space discoveries.

This year marked the 50th anniversary of the launch of the country’s first orbital satellite launched in 1970, the Dongfanghong-1. The space agency held an online ceremony to commemorate this and revealed that it would once again be embarking on a new mission to space

As reported, it is on track for the launch of its first independent interplanetary mission to Mars, and they are expecting to heave it out of the planet in July this year. 

Quest for Heavenly Truth

China’s first Mars exploration mission has been named Tianwen-1, which translates to “Quest for Heavenly Truth.” It is derived from a poem of the same title powerfully written 2,000 years ago by one of ancient China’s greatest poets, Qu Yuan. 

Known for his original and highly imaginative verses, the poem raised questions about stars and celestial bodies. In the same perspective, the space agency envisions to make many discoveries about space through the Tianwen-1 and its succeeding exploration missions, and has written in a statement:

The name represents the Chinese people’s relentless pursuit of truth, the country’s cultural inheritance of its understanding of nature and universe, as well as the unending explorations in science and technology.

The rover, the lander, and the orbiter

As this is China’s first Mars exploration mission, the Tianwen-1 will be setting out to conduct investigations about the red planet and will seek to collect as much data as possible regarding its soil, geological structure, environment, atmosphere, and water supply. 

The CNSA explained that to successfully achieve these objectives, it has concocted a strategy to ensure that the research and resources used for the mission are fully utilized. The unmanned robotic probe will consist of three parts – the rover, the lander, and the orbiter. 

The Tianwen-1 orbiter will be carrying a high-resolution camera, a subsurface radar, mineralogy spectrometer, particle analyzers, a magnetometer, and other important space equipment. It will relay messages for the six-wheeled Tianwen-1 rover, which will then be carrying a ground-penetrating radar, a multispectral camera, and some pieces of equipment designed to detect the climate and magnetic environment in Mars. 

The lander, which completed its public trial in November last year, will be using a parachute, retrorockets, and airbags to land in Mars’ Utopia Planitia region. 

Standing among the world’s greatest exploration missions

Tianwen-1 will be joining other exploration missions that have already embarked in and around the “rusty planet.” If successful, it will become the fifth to place a spacecraft into the red planet’s orbit, the third to land in its soils and will be the next to successfully explore its mysterious surface following NASA’s Curiosity Rover. 


Featured image courtesy of SciNews/YouTube Screenshot.

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