China says its Mars rover could land this weekend – fr

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China says its Mars rover could land this weekend – fr


Beijing’s Tianwen-1 Mars probe is expected to land on the Red Planet in the coming days, as early as Saturday morning (Friday evening, Eastern Time), according to the Chinese space agency. The landing window extends until Wednesday.

China’s first unmanned mission to Mars, Tianwen-1, was launched in July 2020 on the 465 million kilometer journey to reach the planet. The spacecraft entered Martian orbit in February and returned its first photo of the planet over a million kilometers away.

The probe “will orbit, land and release a rover from the very first test, and coordinate observations with an orbiter,” according to the science team behind Tianwen-1.

“No planetary mission has ever been implemented in this way,” the team said.

Tianwen-1 is one of three international missions to Mars launched last summer, along with NASA’s Perseverance rover, which landed on Mars in February, and the United Arab Emirates’ Hope probe, which entered orbit. of March, also in February. Unlike US and Chinese missions, the UAE probe is not intended to land on Mars – it is enough to study the planet from its orbit.

All three missions were launched at around the same time due to alignment between Mars and Earth on the same side of the sun, allowing for more efficient travel to the Red Planet.

Tianwen-1, whose name means “Quest for Heavenly Truth,” hopes to collect important information about Martian soil, geological structure, environment, and atmosphere, and look for signs of water.

China’s ambitious space program made headlines last weekend when an uncontrollable 40,000-pound rocket plunged into the Indian Ocean – sparking a reprimand from NASA for failing to “meet accountability standards concerning (his) space debris ”.

The Long March 5B rocket launched part of China’s new space station into orbit in late April and was abandoned through space without control until Earth’s gravity brought it back.

CNN’s Jessie Yeung, James Griffiths and Ashley Strickland contributed to this report

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