China’s first Mars exploration mission probe successfully launched

by | Jul 29, 2020 | Daily Space, Mars, Rockets, Rovers/Landers | 0 comments

China’s first Mars exploration mission probe successfully launched
IMAGE CREDIT: CNSA

At 4:41 AM UTC, a Long March 5 rocket blasted off from Wenchang Space Launch Center, sending the Tianwen-1 on its way to Mars. It’s expected to arrive next February.

The mission consists of an orbiter, lander, and rover. According to Xinhua News Agency, China’s official state-run press agency, the mission name Tianwen can be translated as “Heavenly Questions” or “Questions to Heaven” and was inspired by a long poem of the same name by Qu Yuan, who lived from about 340 BC to 278 BC. In the poem, the author “raised a series of questions in verse involving the sky, stars, natural phenomena, and the world, showing his doubts about some traditional concepts and the spirit of seeking the truth.”

The orbiter and rover each have several instruments, some of which will use radar to look for water-ice hidden just beneath the surface of the red planet. A few other mission objectives include gathering data on Martian climate, geology, and magnetic fields.

More Information

China National Space Administration news release (Chinese)

Xinhua News Agency article (Chinese)

China seeks “Heavenly Questions” with ambitious Tianwen-1 mission to Mars (NASASpaceflight.com)

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