IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis

China launches ambitious Tianwen-1 Mars rover mission

24th July, 2020 Science and Technology


  • Tianwen-1 consists of an orbiter and a lander/rover duo, a combination of craft that had never before launched together toward the Red Planet.
  • It's China's first stab at a full-on Mars mission.
  • Rocket: Long March 5
  • Tianwen-1 will arrive at the Red Planet in February 2021.
  • The lander/rover pair will touch down on the Martian surface two to three months later.
  • The solar-powered rover will then spend about 90 Martian days, or sols, studying its surroundings in detail. (One sol is roughly 40 minutes longer than an Earth day.)
  • The orbiter will eventually settle into a polar elliptical orbit that takes it as close to the Martian surface.

Objectives of Tianwen-1 include:

  • To map the morphology and geological structure,
  • To investigate the surface soil characteristics and water-ice distribution,
  • To analyze the surface material composition,
  • To measure the ionosphere and the characteristics of the martian climate and environment at the surface,
  • To perceive the physical fields (electromagnetic, gravitational) and internal structure of mars

Note: Landing on Mars is notoriously difficult. Only the U.S. has successfully landed a spacecraft on Martian soil, doing it eight times since 1976.

Reference: https://www.space.com/china-tianwen-1-mars-mission-launch.html#:~:text=Tianwen%2D1%20is%20China's%20first%20fully%20homegrown%20Mars%20mission.&text=The%20Tianwen%2D1%20mission%20launched,a.m.%20EDT%20(0441%20GMT).