After an eight-month journey through space, the Chinese space probe Tianwen-1 reached Mars. The braking maneuver was successful, Chinese state television broadcaster CGNTN reports. The five-ton probe reached a stable orbit around 1:00 pm CET.
Tianwen-1 (“Questions to the Sky”) consists of three parts: a satellite, a landing station and a rover attached to it. Observers expect that the composite unit with the spacecraft will separate from the space probe in May or June 2021. Then it should land gently on the surface of Mars. The rover, equipped with solar cells and weighing 240 kilograms, will spend three months exploring the area around the landing site.
China’s TianWen-1 probe has successfully entered orbit around Mars and is scheduled to land on the red planet in May or June. Warm congratulations！ pic.twitter.com/YmmcJK8pG4
– Linli Guo_CAST_CHINA (guo_linli) February 10, 2021
The mission is China’s first attempt to land on Mars. If the maneuver succeeds, the People’s Republic of China will be the second country to have made an easy landing on the Red Planet. So far, only the USA is operating a rover on Mars: it plans to land its 5th “persevering” rover on February 18th. With a good weight of 1,000 kilograms, it is much heavier than the Chinese car.
Tianwen-1 is an important step for China to confirm its status as a world power in space. In the past few years, the country’s engineers have made several gentle moon landings. Recently, the Chang’e-5 probe brought a sample of moon rocks back to Earth. So the Mars mission also has a very local symbolic character. Among other things, the Chinese people should demonstrate the successes of the Communist Party. This celebrates his 100th birthday in 2021.