China lands the spacecraft on Mars
According to state media, China has landed a spacecraft that had a vehicle on Mars, in another sign that shows its bold intentions in the field.
The rover was part of an unmanned Tianwen-1 crew mission in July last year. Tianwen means “questions for heaven” and was named after a poem by the Chinese poet Qu Yuan.
The mission was described by the Chinese media as a “new major milestone” and was “the first step in the planetary exploration of China’s solar system.” join the US successfully landing on the red planet.
The Global Times reported that the earth and the Tianwen-1 spacecraft arrived at a plain called Mars Utopia Planitia on Saturday morning local time, citing information from China’s National Space Administration.
The Tianwen-1 spacecraft’s landers and vehicles were separated from the orbiter around 4 a.m., followed by a three-hour flight before they entered Mars’ atmosphere, according to the newspaper.
The spacecraft “spent about nine minutes slowing down its speed to avoid and dampen obstacles before a smooth landing.” The rover is named after the Chinese god of fire Zhurong, who is 1.85 meters tall and weighs 240 kg. It is expected to cross the planet in about 92 days.
The probe was launched into space on July 23 by the Long Rocket on March 5 from the Wenchang Province launch pad in several provinces in the south of the country.
The landing on Mars is part of a broader expansion of China’s space program. The country’s engineers launched the first part of its permanent space station into Earth orbit at the end of last month.
In 2018, China launched more ships into orbit for the first time than any other nation.
The US sees China’s efforts in space in strategic terms. “Beijing is working to equalize or surpass its space capabilities in the U.S. to achieve the military, economic, and prestige benefits that Washington has gained from space leadership,” according to the annual threat assessment released by the U.S. director of national intelligence.