Chinese Are Going to Mars in Search of Heavenly Truth

Concept of the Chinese Mars rover and lander 1 photo
Photo: CNSA/Xinhua
Later this year, humanity’s most important mission to Mars to date is scheduled to take off from Cape Canaveral, taking with it the Perseverance rover, the most advanced tool ever sent to the Red Planet. But the American mission is not the only one departing for Mars this year.
Boosted by serious government investments over the past few years, the China National Space Administration (CNSA) is targeting a mission to Mars also. It is also scheduled to take off this year, taking with it a probe meant to “conduct scientific investigations about the Martian soil, geological structure, environment, atmosphere as well as water.”

The Chinese Martian exploration program got its official name last week, and that is Tianwen (subsequently, the mission that will take off in the coming month is called Tianwen-1). That name, says the CNSA, was inspired by a poem by ancient poet Qu Yuan and supposedly means “quest for heavenly truth.”

“The name represents the Chinese people's relentless pursuit of truth, the country's cultural inheritance of its understanding of nature and universe, as well as the unending explorations in science and technology,” CNSA said in a statement.

The mission the Chinese are sending to the neighboring planet, the first ever for the country, comprises an orbiter, a lander, and a rover. The rover will be the one actually tasked with performing scientific research.

As most other rovers, the Chinese one is a six-wheeler, but gets its power from four solar panels. 13 scientific instruments are fitted on the 200 kg rover (the American Perseverance weighs only 7), and they should do their thing over the course of three months, the designated length of the mission.

The Chinese space agency says the mission should land on Mars a few months after the American one, sometime before July 2021. No details as to where it is supposed to land have been provided.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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