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Welcome to China’s “Mars Yard”

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Credit score: CCTV-Plus/Inside Outer Area screengrab


China Academy of Area Expertise has constructed a testing floor to organize for China’s first Mars mission. The bottom was renovated from a website which was initially used to simulate the Moon’s floor for 2 Chinese language lunar rovers.

Credit score: CCTV-Plus/Inside Outer Area screengrab


The testing floor comes full with sand and stones to simulate varied scenes on Mars floor.

Rover modes

As defined in a CCTV-Plus video, workers members used silicon carbides on the Earth, and washed them with water to verify they’re clear sufficient.

Credit score: CCTV-Plus/Inside Outer Area screengrab

“On this website, we primarily take a look at all its working modes. We examined regular working mode and in addition its malfunction mode to see the way it will get out of bother when malfunction occurred. In reality, our testing floor served as an examination room earlier than the ultimate launch mission,” mentioned Jia Yong, an knowledgeable of China Aerospace Science and Expertise Company.

Credit score: CCTV

China’s Mars rover is similar to the nation’s lunar rovers, however bigger in dimension.

“We should enhance the autonomy of the rover. In addition to, the environmental situations of the Mars floor are in all probability extra sophisticated than the Moon. A end result we will instantly understand via the eyes is that the rover is shifting sideways, similar to a crab, a feat the lunar rover incapable of,” Teng Baoyi, deputy chief designer of China Aerospace Science and Expertise Company, within the CCTV-Plus interview.

Credit score: CNSA

Tough mission

In a associated interview with CCTV, Liu Tongjie, deputy director of the Lunar Exploration and Area Program Middle underneath the China Nationwide Area Administration (CNSA) mentioned the Tianwen-1 mission – consisting of an orbiter, lander and a rover — is extraordinarily tough.

The spacecraft is predicted to enter Mars orbit round February 2021. Afterwards, it’s going to spend two to 3 months surveying potential touchdown websites by utilizing a high-resolution digital camera to organize for the touchdown in Could.

In a post-launch press convention, Liu Tongjie, spotlighted the southern a part of the Utopia Planitia because the Tianwen-1 touchdown zone.

The Tianwen-1 orbiter carries with it seven science devices whereas the rover carries six.

When the probe arrives in February subsequent 12 months, “we won’t let it land on the floor of the Mars instantly. First, we’ll let it perform some preliminary explorations on the orbit of the Mars, making some trial operations and explorations. Then we’ll discover a higher window for it to make its touchdown into the ambiance of the Mars,” mentioned Liu.

Credit score: CGTN/Inside Outer Area screengrab

Northern hemisphere

The touchdown spot for the probe was rigorously picked in accordance with the terrain of Mars.

“From what we’ve discovered thus far, the southern hemisphere of Mars is mountainous, whereas extra plains are seen on the northern hemisphere. So we select to make the touchdown on the latter. Proper now we’ve picked the Utopia Planitia,” Liu mentioned.

China’s Mars touchdown areas.
Courtesy: James Head

Mars pattern return

After the touchdown, the rover will likely be launched to conduct scientific exploration with an anticipated lifespan of at the very least 90 Martian days (about three months on Earth), and the orbiter, with a design life of 1 Martian 12 months (about 687 days on Earth), will relay communications for the rover whereas conducting its personal scientific duties.

As reported by the China International Tv Community (CGTN) China officers have recommended that if the Tianwen-1 and later this 12 months the Chang’e-5 Moon pattern return mission go nicely, China might try to return samples from Mars starting round 2030.

Go to this XinhuaVideo on what science duties China’s Mars mission is to hold out, targeted on what the floor of Mars is made from.

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