Tianwen-1: China Launches Solo Mars Mission, Days Before US Launch

China’s first solo Mars mission, Tianwen-1 is expected to reach its destination seven months after the launch.

Published23 Jul 2020, 08:42 AM IST
1 min read

China has reportedly declared the launch of a major mission to Mars, Tianwen-1, from its Wenchang Satellite Launch Center on Hainan Island on Thursday, 23 July, a success.

The mission reportedly includes an orbiter, rover, and lander, launched aboard a long March-5 rocket, that is scheduled to reach its destination seven months from now, CNBC reported.

China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation reportedly declared the launch a success as per a post on WeChat, stating that the rover had successfully transferred into “predetermined orbit.”

The launch comes just days ahead of US’ launch of NASA Mars Perseverance Rover scheduled for 30 July. The two countries are reportedly taking advantage of the time when Mars and Earth are closest, NDTV reported. The US has reportedly already sent four rovers to Mars since the 1990s.

Chinese scientists are reportedly hoping to map “ geological structure of Mars, investigate the characteristics of its soil and water-ice distribution and study the surface material composition” to understand more about the environment of the planet.

Tianwen-1 (Questions to Heaven) is reportedly a nod to a classic poem about the cosmos. This is China’s second attempt to reach Mars, after a joint mission with Russia failed a few years ago.

The United Arab Emirates on Monday also launched a mission to Mars that will orbit the Red Planet after reaching it.

(With inputs from NDTV and CNBC)

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