China was planning to attempt a small unmanned robot landing on the surface of Mars on Friday, an especially delicate operation that demonstrates Beijing’s increasingly daring space ambitions.
In July of last year, the Asian giant launched the “Tianwen-1” probe in the midst of political and technical competition with the United States.
The craft traveled 1,400 times around the planet in seven months to cover the 55 million kilometers that separated it from Mars.
The probe, which was launched into orbit around Mars in February, is made up of three parts, one of which is a lander that will land in the next few hours.
The module must enable a remote-controlled robot named “Zhurong” (the Chinese god of fire) to come out and inspect the floor.
The probe, which was launched into orbit around Mars in February, is made up of three components, one of which is a lander that will touch down in the coming hours.
A remote-controlled robot called “Zhurong” (the Chinese god of fire) must be able to come out and inspect the floor using this module.
The lunar exploration program’s boss, Ye Peijian, expects the module to land at 7:11 a.m.
according to comments reported by the media on Friday and made at a conference the day before, on Saturday Beijing time (11:11 p.m. GMT Friday).
For three months, “Zhurong” is expected to be operational.
In the event of a successful landing, it should be possible to research and analyze the Martian climate.
Landing on Mars is especially difficult, and many previous European, Soviet, and American missions have crashed.
In February, the “Tianwen-1” mission sent its first image of Mars: a black-and-white image of landforms such as the Schiaparelli crater and the Valles Marineris canyon system.