China launches rocket with probe to Mars

Rodiano Bonacci
Luglio 31, 2020

Leveraging its AI expertise, strengths as a knowledge platform, and more than 230 million daily active users (DAUs), Baidu App is proud to be an exclusive partner of China's first Mars mission to inform netizens about this historic moment in China's space exploration.

The launch marked the second flight to Mars this week, after a United Arab Emirates orbiter blasted off on a rocket from Japan on Monday.

The US, meanwhile, will launch its sophisticated Mars rover, Perseverance from Florida next week.

The Tianwen-1 spacecraft was then placed into an Earth-Mars transfer orbit roughly 36 minutes later and started its seven-month journey to Mars.

Space scientists and researchers have been conducting experiments to know more about the Red Planet's soil, atmosphere, and the conditions that might sustain life.

While Curiosity's drill pulverises rocks for analysis, Perseverance's will cut intact rock cores around half the size of a piece of chalk and place them in tubes to be stored until the rover reaches an appropriate drop-off location.

"I have always been inspired by space exploration ever since I was a boy, and it continues to fill me with awe when I look to the sky at night". It will orbit Mars and study the weather and the planet's ancient climate. "At a place where an ancient ocean and land meet, scientists hope to make a lot of discoveries", said Liu Tongjie, a spokesman for the mission. As part of the mission, Perseverance will carry a meteorite from Mars that crashed on Earth.

The mission was dubbed Tianwen-1 ("Questions to Heaven") in a nod to a classical Chinese poem that has verses about the cosmos. The rover will be active for around 90 Martian days (92 Earth days) and carry out various scientific tasks, according to an article astronomers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences published in Nature. One of the highlights of the mission will be the Mars Helicopter, a small 4-pound drone called Ingenuity. The mission's aim is to complete orbiting, landing and roving on Mars.

Landing on Mars is particularly hard. For example, users can search "Mars rover" and view a 3D structure of the vehicle.

- What is China's Mars mission expected to achieve?

"The launch of the Mars Perseverance rover from America's shore to the Jezero crater on Mars is a milestone in humanity's history". For instance, Tianwen-1 will land using a system of parachutes, rockets and inflatable airbags similar to what NASA has employed in the past.

A previous mission with Russian Federation in 2011 ended prematurely as the launch failed. The mission would've also released China's first Mars spacecraft, the Yinghuo-1 orbiter. This makes the mission especially ambitious for China because this has never been done before.

"But if we start viewing intriguing items on the surface area of Mars that we can't make clear in the spectra, then we are going to glimpse again to the calibration focus on to make confident that the instrument's functioning the right way".

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