Martian Orbit Getting Crowded as Perseverance Mission Hurdles Toward the Planet

Less than a week separates us from the historic and hopefully successful landing of the American Perseverance rover on Mars. With all eyes pinned on how this mission is going, we nearly missed just how crowded the space around the planet has become this past week.
First picture of Mars captured by Arab ship Hope 1 photo
Photo: HH Sheikh Mohammed/Twitter
It’s as if other nations have sent spacecraft over there to witness the Perseverance final approach and descent first-hand. On February 9, the United Arab Emirates Space Agency announced the Arab world’s first interplanetary mission, Hope, reached Martian orbit, and then, one day later, the China National Space Administration (CNSA) announced the arrival of the Tianwen-1 there.

The Emirates' machine is an orbital probe designed to make a complete survey of the Martian atmosphere and its layers. Its goal is to help scientists better understand how the planet works, but also better measure the loss of hydrogen and oxygen into space over the span of a local year.

The Chinese Tianwen-1 is a more complicated piece of machinery, as it contains an orbiter, a lander and a rover. The orbiter is already circling Mars, with plans for the lander to drop and release the rover into the wild in May, somewhere in the Utopia Planitia region.

Tianwen-1 is tasked with finding signs of life, past or present, mapping the planet’s surface, and examining the soil and atmosphere.

The star of this impressive show of force in the sky over Mars is not due to arrive before next week Thursday, February 18. The Perseverance rover, the last in a long series deployed by the Americans on the Red Planet, is too tasked with finding signs of life.

However, Its mission expands well past that, as it will also try and generate oxygen, and collect samples that will be brought back to Earth by a subsequent joint European-American mission.
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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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