DW News shows that China has landed a spacecraft on Mars. This is the latest step in its ambitious space program. The Chinese rover will stay in its lander for a few days of tests before exploring the Red Planet. The rover has yet to send back any images from Mars, but here's the story of how it got there - and what the mission aims to find out.
The name Tianwen means "Heavenly Questions" or "questions to heaven" or "quest for heavenly truth", and comes from the long poem of the same name written by Qu Yuan (c. 340-278 BC), a poet of ancient China.
Tianwen-1 (TW-1; simplified Chinese: 天问; traditional Chinese: 天問 ) is certainly an interplanetary mission by the China National Space Administration (CNSA) to send a robotic spacecraft to Mars, consisting of an orbiter, deployable camera, lander and the Zhurong rover. The spacecraft, with a total mass of nearly 5 tons, is one of the heaviest probes launched to Mars and carries 13 scientific instruments.
The scientific objectives of the mission relate to the geology of Mars, the current and past presence of water, the internal structure of the planet, identification of minerals and rock types on the surface, as well as characterization of the space environment and atmosphere of Mars.
At 23:18 UTC, on 14 May 2021, the Tianwen-1 lander successfully landed in the preselected landing area in the southern part of the Mars Utopia Planitia. The planet landing phase began with the release of the protective capsule containing the lander/rover. The capsule made an atmospheric entry followed by a descent phase under parachute, after which the lander used retro-propulsion to soft-land on Mars.
The lander had a "treacherous journey" through the Martian atmosphere.
This is certainly a major triumph for China's space ambitions, and the culmination of years of hard work.
This is a key event for the China Aerospace and Technology Corporation.
This is the China's first rover landing on another planet.
The icy area of Mars known as "Utopia Planitia" was formed by the violent impact of an asteroid about 4 billion years ago. Past space probes have discovered large amounts of frozen water under the surface here.