China says that its Tianwen-1 spacecraft has just entered the temporary parking orbit around the Red Planet before landing a rover on the planet in the upcoming months.
It’s been just revealed that the China National Space Administration said that the spacecraft made a maneuver in order to adjust its orbit today, and this is for about the next three months before it will attempt a landing.
During that time, it will map the surface of the Red Planet and use its cameras and more sensors in order to collect more data, especially about the prospective landing location.
This follows the landing of the US Perseverance rover that took place during the course of last week near the ancient river delta in the Jezero Crater to search for signs of ancient, microscopic life.
It’s also important to note the fact that a successful bid to land Tianwen-1 would make China only the second country after the U.S. to place a spacecraft on Mars.
More than that, it’s also worth noting that China’s solar-powered vehicle, which is about the size of a golf cart, will collect data on underground water and look for evidence that the planet may have once harboured microscopic life.
Another issue worth addressing is the fact that landing a spacecraft on Mars is pretty tricky, and about a dozen orbiters missed the mark by now. For instance, back in 2011, a Mars-bound Chinese orbiter that was a part of a Russian mission did not make it out of the Earth’s orbit.
China’s current attempt to land on the Red Planet
This attempt that China is making now will involve a parachute, rocket firing and airbags. The proposed landing site is a pretty vast plain that’s called Utopia Planitia, where the U.S. Viking 2 lander touched down back in 1976.
APNews notes that “Tianwen-1′s arrival at Mars on Feb. 10 was preceded by that of an orbiter from the United Arab Emirates. All three of the latest missions were launched in July to take advantage of the close alignment between Earth and Mars that happens only once every two years.”
We suggest that you check out the original article posted by the online publication mentioned above in order to learn all the details that are available about the subject.