Topics Covered: Awareness in space.
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:
- Create a geological map of Mars.
- Explore the characteristics of the Martian soil and potentially locate water-ice deposits.
- Analyze the surface material composition.
- Investigate the Martian atmosphere and climate at the surface.
- Understand the electromagnetic and gravitational fields of the planet.
- 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.
Sources: the Hindu.