Nestled between the United Arab Emirates’ and NASA’s launches to Mars is China’s own expedition. China’s Tianwen-1 is getting ready to set out to deep space in the next couple of days and has an ambitious agenda.
This will be China’s first homegrown mission to Mars. On July 17th the ship was slowly rolled out to the Wenchang Space Launch Center. It took about two hours to roll the spacecraft to the pad. The China National Space Administration will run a series of tests before the scheduled launch on July 23rd.
“Testing for all the technical items on the rocket, the Mars rover, and the launching area has been completed so far,” Li Benqi, command member for the Long March-5 launch mission, told China Central Television (CCTV). “While the rocket is at the launching area, our preparations are focused on filling fuel into the rocket and ensuring a good final state of the rocket and the rover. Then we’ll enter the launching procedures.”
The Tianwen-1 has an aggressive agenda. China is aiming to orbit, land, and rove on the red planet all in one mission. The goal is to obtain a wide array of scientific exploration data collected from the planet and its surroundings.
Long Lehao, a carrier rocket expert at the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, told CCTV: “The rocket will simultaneously carry the Mars orbiter, lander and rover into space. Such a comprehensive launching mission for Mars exploration will also be the first in the world, so we’re looking forward to it.”
Here are some quick facts about the Tianwen-1’s first mission to Mars:
With the race to Mars in full force this month it’s impressive to see China take on the tasks of orbiting and roving in a single mission. My hope is to see China collaborate with the UAE and the USA when this is all done to further Earth’s understanding of Mars.