On April 24, 2020, China National Space Administration (CNSA) has named its first Mars exploration mission as “Tainwen-1” and also released its logo “Lanxingjiutian” during the online celebration of “Space Day” which marks the 50th anniversary of the launch of the country’s first satellite Dong Fang Hong-1 in 1970.
- Tianwen-1 is set to be launched in July 2020 with an aim to complete orbiting, landing and roving in one mission. After this mission, China will join India, US, Russia and the European Union to reach the red planet.
- The Tianwen-1 mission will join NASA’s Perseverance Mars 2020 rover and the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) Hope Mars orbiter.
Reason behind naming the mission as “Tianwen” is Poet Qu Yuan
(CNSA) named the Mars mission as “Tianwen,” which means Heavenly Questions or Questions to Heaven, a poem written by China’s well known poet Qu Yuan (340-278 BC).
- In Case of Logo ‘Lanxingjiutian’ it includes representations of the Latin letter ‘c’, referring to China, cooperation, and the cosmic velocity required to undertake planetary exploration.
About Tianwen-1: Spacecraft, Orbiter and Rover
The Tianwen-1 spacecraft with a wet mass of around 5 metric tons will be launched on a Long March 5 launcher from Wenchang Satellite Launch Center(WSLC) in Wenchang, Hainan, China. The spacecraft has already been delivered to WSLC. It is expected to reach Mars around February 2021.
- Tianwen-1 Orbiter: It will be equipped with a high-resolution camera, medium-resolution camera, subsurface radar, mineralogy spectrometer, neutral and energetic particle analyzers and a magnetometer. The orbiter will also play a relay role for the mission rover.
- Tianwen-1 Rover: The 240-kilogram solar-powered rover will detect the climate and magnetic environment of Mars. It has a mission design lifetime of three Earth months.
-Currently China is building a space station of its own.
-In 2011, China attempted to send an exploratory probe to Mars called Yinghuo-1, in a Russian spacecraft but failed shortly after the launch.
Point to be noted with respect to India:
India became the first Asian country to have successfully launched its Mars orbiter mission, Mangalyaan in 2014. India also became the first country to have entered the Martian orbit in its first attempt.
President– Xi Jinping