1st nation to ‘master Mars’ – China posts stunning images of the Red Planet in a bid to beat the US in the space race


China’s Tianwen-1 probe comes to an end and releases spectacular images of the entire Red Planet
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China’s first interplanetary exploration mission, the Tianwen-1 Mars probe, was successfully launched on July 23, 2020. He accomplished the remarkable feat of orbiting, landing and traveling on the Red Planet. Two years later, the Tianwen-1 probe came to an end.

On June 29, the Chinese probe Tianwen-1 took the last pictures of Mars. The China National Space Administration (CNSA) has announced that the mission has achieved all of its stated objectives, CGTN reported.

The probe acquired data, including medium-resolution images covering the entire red planet, and carried out research missions with a variety of scientific payloads.

The photos, shared by the space agency on social media, show the rugged terrain of the Martian landscape, including the South Pole ice sheet, shield volcanoes, impact craters, and the cliffs and ridges of the canyons of Mariner Valley, one of the world’s vast canyons. solar system, according to CNN.

China’s Tianwen 1 orbiter completes its science mission to Mars (via Twitter)

According to CNSA, the images were taken by the probe’s orbiter, which made 1,344 orbits around Mars and took pictures of the planet from all angles as the rover explored the surface.

He also reportedly obtained images of the south pole of Mars, where nearly all of Martian water is thought to be trapped. Finding water on the red planet would be the first step towards possible life on the Martian surface.

Thirteen science payload units aboard the Tianwen-1 Martian mission have collected 1,040 gigabytes of raw science data after two years of work and planetary exploration.

The ground team processed the data to create standard science products, which were then delivered monthly to research teams for further analysis and research. Relevant scientific achievements have been published in renowned academic journals both at home and abroad.

According to CNSA, the scientific data will be available to researchers around the world, including US NASA and European ESA, at the appropriate time. They will be invited to apply for data exploration to advance humanity in the exploration of the universe.

China's Tianwen-1 probe comes to an end and releases spectacular images of the entire Red Planet.
China’s Tianwen-1 probe comes to an end and releases spectacular images of the entire Red Planet.

Exploration and reaching Mars by China

Tianwen-1, China’s first Mars mission, was launched in July 2020 and carried an orbiter, lander and rover with 13 research instruments. It successfully landed on the Martian plain Utopia Planitia in May 2021. The Chinese government declared Tianwen-1 a success at the end of 2021.

Tianwen 1 celebrated its first anniversary on the red planet in February 2022. The Tianwen 1 spacecraft entered orbit around Mars on February 10, 2021. Shortly thereafter, the China National Space Administration released impressive footage of the event, showing the orbiter passing behind Mars as it fired. thrusters to slow down and enter orbit.

Over the past 706 days, the orbiter has circled Mars 1,344 times, collecting medium-resolution visual data on the surface of the entire planet. The six-wheeled rover collected data on the geological composition, atmosphere, environment and soil of Mars.

The rover, named Zhurong after the god of fire in Chinese mythology, traveled more than two kilometers on Mars before hibernating on May 18 due to harsh winter conditions. Work is expected to continue when spring arrives in December, according to CGTN.

Landing on Mars is one of the most difficult tasks in space flight. Since Mars has an atmosphere, unlike the Moon, the landers must be protected from the heat generated during the descent. Therefore, retrorockets are necessary because the air is too thin for a parachute to slow the lander on its own.

1st country to study martian samples?

It is also pertinent to mention that China competes with other world powers in space, and this rivalry intensifies with each planned mission. Recently it was reported that China intends to become the first country in the world to return rocks from Mars to Earth, according to the EurAsian Times.

A senior Chinese space official confirmed that Beijing plans to deliver rocks from Mars by 2031, making it the first country to bring Martian samples to Earth.

China’s schedule is two years ahead of the US-European mission to Mars to bring samples back to Earth. The latter announced a postponement in March to take on a more difficult mission than China’s.

Exploration of Mars has become the cornerstone of the US-China space race, which has grown rapidly in tandem with the geopolitical rivalry unfolding on earth. Only the United States and the former Soviet Union had successfully landed spacecraft on Mars before China’s success with Tianwen-1.

Moreover, China was the first country to attempt to send an orbiter and rover on its first domestic Mars mission with Tianwen-1. For its part, NASA launched several Mars orbiters before attempting a landing.

However, in addition to competition, there is also a significant amount of cooperation between CNSA and other states and space agencies. As part of the Sino-European scientific cooperation, Zhurong also tested data transmission via ESA’s Mars Express spacecraft.

In addition, CNSA has also collaborated with observatories in many countries, including Russia, Germany, Italy, Australia, and South Africa, to conduct observational and scientific research in various fields, including the solar wind surrounding a solar accident using the Tianwen Orbiter. -1 and Mars Express.

CNSA stated that such collaboration has brought fruitful results, expanded human knowledge and positively influenced efforts to create a scientific community with a common future for all people.

With many missions to the red planet planned before the end of this decade, there may be room for more collaboration beyond the obvious competition.

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