Mars Probe Launched By China In Space Race With The US


  • Mars probe launched by China in the space race with the US
  • China and the US are trying to take advantage of an alignment of Earth and Mars which favours shorter journey
  • The Chinese mission is named Tianwen-1

On Thursday, China launched a rover to Mars which is a journey which coincided with a similar US mission as the powers take their rivalry outside the orbit of planet Earth. Both the countries are trying to take advantage of a period when Earth and Mars are favourably aligned in a way that the space journey is shorter, with the US spacecraft will be taking off on the 30th of July.

The Chinese space mission is named Tianwen-1 which loosely translates to “Question to Heaven” which is a nod to a classical poem which has verses of the cosmos.

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At the launch, the engineer and other employees cheered at the launch site on the Southers Island of Hainan as the spacecraft lisfted off into the sky above a Long March 5 which is China’s biggest space rocket.

On the state run news channel CCTV, Zhang Xueyu who is the site commander, declared the mission a success.

The 5 tonne Tianwen-1 is expected to arrive in February next year which would be 7 months from now, 55 million kilometres or 24 million miles voyage.

This space mission included a Mars orbiter, a lander, and a rover which will study the soil of planet Mars.

Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics sais, “As a first try for China, I don’t expect it to do anything significant beyond what the US has already done,”.

The race between the US and China is the one to watch as it has worked out furiously to try and match the supremacy of the US in the space.

NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, is the American space agency which has already sent 4 rovers to Mars since the late 1990s.

The latest one, Perseverance, is the size of an SUV vehicle and will look for signs of ancient microbial life and collect soil and rock samples with the goal of bringing them back to Earth on another mission 11 years from now, in 2031.

McDowell said that Tianwen-1 is “broadly comparable to Viking in its scope and ambition”, referring to NASA’s Mars landing missions in 1975-1976.

Witnessing the US and the Soviet Union during the Cold War times, China has invested billion of dollars into its military-led space programme.

Chen Lan who is an independent analyst at said, “China joining (the Mars race) will change the situation dominated by the US for half a century,”. Lan specialises in China’s space programme.

China, back in 2003, sent a human to space and since then has made huge progress in space travel.

China has been working on a huge mission which will make sure the country has a permanent foothold in the orbit of Earth as it is trying to assemble a space station which could be completed by 2022.

In the past, China has sent 2 rovers to the Moon, the second one, China became the first country in the world to have made a successful soft landing on the far side.

That Moon mission gave China the experience in operating spacecraft outside the orbit of planet Earth, however, aims Mars is on a different tangent altogether. McDowell said, going to Mars means travelling much greater distance which means, “a bigger light travel time, so you have to do things more slowly as the radio signal round trip time is large,”.

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Azeem Ali
Azeem has been a professional player and has covered many games online. He has been working as a technical writer since the past 7 years and has written articles on many domains in technology including mobile Apps, Websites, Operating Systems and Softwares throughout his career. He is a B. Tech Graduate and love to spend his time on the internet researching for new thing when not working. View More Posts