China’s Tianwen-1 Mars probe is expected to reach Mars’ gravity field in February 2021, about seven months after the launch.
Mars, one of Earth’s closest neighbor planets in the solar system, has the most similar environment to Earth’s. As of June 2020, human beings have made 44 Mars mission attempts, and only 24 of them succeeded.
The minimum distance between Mars and Earth is about 55 million kilometers, and the two planets only come that close every 26 months. The Mars exploration window is open between July and August.
No country other than China has ever set the goals of orbiting, landing and roving the Red Planet in its first mission attempt.
According to the CNSA, the project is set to achieve a series of technological advances, including Mars orbit insertion, long-term automatic probe management, long distance communication and Mars surface roving capabilities.
The interplanetary mission will also mark China’s establishment of a complete deep-space exploration project system, covering design, production, flight mission and scientific research.
Global Times reporters found on Thursday that the body of the Long March-5 Y4 is decorated with multiple international space agencies’ logos, such as those of the European Space Agency, French space agency CNES and the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG), which strongly indicates that the mission also involves international cooperation.
The Thursday launch mission was the fifth flight of the Long March-5 carrier rocket series, the strongest member of China’s launch vehicle family.
The first Arab space mission to Mars, an unmanned probe dubbed Hope, blasted off from Japan on Monday, in a bid to reveal more about the atmosphere of the mars.