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China Launches Tianwen-1: China’s First Rover Mission to Mars

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China launches first Mars mission “Tianwen-1”On 23rd July 2020, Tianwen-1, China’s first fully homegrown Mars Mission, was launched by Long March 5 Rocket from the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center in Hainan Island, China.


i.The Tianwen-1 is carrying the duo of an orbiter and a lander or rover; this combination of craft was never launched towards mars.

ii.The name Tianwen means “Questions to Heaven” it was taken from the poem by Qu Yuan (Lived in 340 to 278 BCE).

iii. The objective of Tianwen-1 is to orbit, land and release the rover and coordinate observations with an orbiter.


China launched a Red Planet orbiter – “Yinghuo-1” in 2011 November, the spacecraft flew with Phobos Grunt mission of Russia and the launch failed leaving the probe trapped in the Earth’s orbit.

Scientific Objectives:

i.To map the morphology and geological structure.

ii.To investigate the surface soil characteristics and water-ice distribution.

iii.To analyze the surface material composition.

iv.To measure the ionosphere and the characteristics of the Martian climate and environment at the surface.

v.To perceive the physical fields (electromagnetic, gravitational) and internal structure of Mars.

Taiwan-1 Mars Mission:

i.Tianwen-1 is expected to reach Mars in February 2021 and the rover pair will touch the surface of the mars in 2 or 3 months within the Utopia Planitia, a large plain in the northern hemisphere of Mars.

ii.The 240Kg rover powered by solar energy will spend 90 Martian days or Sols (1 sol is approximately 40 minutes longer than a day on Earth) in analysing and studying the surroundings of the planet in detail.

iii.The study will be done with 6 science instruments:

  • Nature Astronomy paper identified as the Multispectral Camera
  • Terrain Camera
  • Mars-Rover Subsurface Exploration Radar
  • Mars Surface Composition Detector
  • Mars Magnetic Field Detector 
  • Mars Meteorology Monitor

iv.The orbiter will settle in the polar elliptical orbit which takes it around 165 miles closer to the surface and around 7,456 miles away from the surface.

v.The spacecraft uses 7 science instruments to collect data, 

  • Two cameras
  • Mars-Orbiting Subsurface Exploration Radar
  • Mars Mineralogy Spectrometer
  • Mars Magnetometer
  • Mars Ion and Neutral Particle Analyzer
  • Mars Energetic Particle Analyzer

Other Mars Missions:

i.The United Arab Emirates(UAE) launched its first interplanetary mission developed by Arab state – “Hope Orbiter” into space using Japan’s H-2A rocket on 19th July 2020 to study the Martian atmosphere and climate.

ii.NASA’s 1040 Kg perseverance, the next Mars rover is scheduled to launch on 30th July 2020.

About China:
President-Xi Jinping
Capital– Beijing
Currency– Renminbi

Recent Related News:

i.NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) announced the name of the 5th Mars (red planet) rover as Perseverance.

ii.Indian-origin girl Vaneeza Rupani has named the 1st helicopter to be built for Mars as ‘Ingenuity’.