China launched to Mars vehicles mission “Tangwani-1”, consisting of Orbiter, lander and Rover. In mid-February, 2021, the spacecraft will go into orbit around Mars, and at the end of April the landing platform with the Rover will separate and begin planting. If the landing goes according to plan, China will become the second country after USA, which was able to conduct a scientific mission on the surface of Mars. Stream launch took place on YouTube.
China already has a successful surface exploration of other celestial bodies: in his account of two successful moon mission “Chang’e-3 and Chang’e-4”. “Tangwani-1” partly based on the work of the lunar landings and borrows from these missions proven technology. However, landing on Mars is much different from landing on the moon, because this planet has an atmosphere. In addition, in the mission “Tangwani-1” is an unusual scheme in which a first apparatus to decelerate and go into orbit around Mars, and only then start planting. This scheme has already been used in American missions “Viking 1” and “Viking-2”, but modern Rovers typically use a direct-entry at the end of the flight.
“Tangwani-1” consists of an Orbiter and a landing platform with fixed on it with the Rover. The Orbiter will conduct a survey of Mars with two cameras with a resolution of two meters, to search for deposits of ice beneath the surface, analyze the composition of the soil spectrometer, and perform other scientific tasks, and to relay signals between Earth and spacecraft on the planet’s surface. Details about the mission can be read in our article “Questions to heaven”.
In space vehicles launched heavy rocket “Changzheng-5”. She was launched from the spaceport in Wenchang on Hainan island on July 23 at 07:42 Moscow time. After launch, the spacecraft will first be on a stable orbit, and then the second stage of the rocket would bring them to the orbit of Mars. On 11 February next year, the spacecraft will go into orbit around Mars, and on April 23 the landing platform with the Rover will land at the area of the plain of Utopia in the Northern hemisphere of the planet. Shortly thereafter, the Rover will move off the platform and set off to explore the surface.
Nominal duration of the mission ground is 90 sols (Martian days). It should be noted that a space mission actually worked much longer than it was planned. For example, the American Mars Rover “opportunity”, too, had a planned mission length of 90 sols, but in fact worked for more than five thousand sols, started in 2004 and finished it in 2018.
If the landing platform and the Rover will be able not only to land but also to begin its work, China will become the second country after the United States, which will be able to achieve this. Formally a successful soft landing on Mars, the first in history, belongs to the USSR with a mission “Mars-3”, but this unit after landing, began to transmit telemetry, which was interrupted after 14.5 seconds and was the last signal received from the camera.
A few days ago, Mars went first Arab interplanetary station Al Amal, and a few days after the Chinese Rover will be launched by the American “Perseverance”. Its design is based on the current Mars Rover “Curiosity”, but “Perseverance” is notable for two reasons. First, it will collect soil samples that will then take more of the American mission and for the first time in the history sent to the Ground, and secondly, with the Rover on Mars will go first extraterrestrial helicopterthat will fly and look for the most interesting from the point of view of potential scientific value of the place for research.