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Tianwen-1:

Topics Covered: Awareness in space.

Tianwen-1:

Context:

On July 22, China launched its Mars mission.

  • Known as Tianwen-1, the mission name is loosely translated to “questions to Heaven.”

Key points you should know:

  • China’s first Mars probe is called Tianwen-1 (formerly Huoxing 1).
  • The spacecraft consists of an orbiter, a lander and a rover.
  • Launched on a Long March 5 rocket from Xichang, China.
  • Landing site: Somewhere in Utopia Planitia, a vast plain in Mars’ northern latitudes and the same place NASA’s Viking 2 mission landed in the 1970s. 
  • Tianwen-1 will reach the Red Planet’s orbit in February 2021. The rover will land on Mars in May.
  • If the mission is successful, China will become the third country to achieve a Mars landing after the USSR and the United States.

 There are five core science objectives:

  1. Create a geological map of Mars.
  2. Explore the characteristics of the Martian soil and potentially locate water-ice deposits.
  3. Analyze the surface material composition.
  4. Investigate the Martian atmosphere and climate at the surface.
  5. Understand the electromagnetic and gravitational fields of the planet.

Insta Facts:

  • This is a busy week for Mars missions, with the UAE having launched HOPE mission on 19th July and NASA to launch its own rover on July 30- ‘Perseverance’.
  • This is a period that offers a window for such launches, with the alignment of Earth and Mars allowing a short journey.

JPL

Sources: the Hindu.