The rover has landed. And now? – fr

The rover has landed. And now? – fr

An illustration of the Tianwen-1 Landing Module (CNSA)

China’s first Mars rover, Zhurong, landed on the Red Planet, becoming the country’s first spacecraft to land on Mars on Saturday. On a note of festive breakthroughs, the rover will complete more tasks and even encounter unfamiliar situations within the next three months.

The landing module landed in a preselected area in the southern part of an icy area of ​​the planet known as Utopia Planitia. Zhurong’s first task is survival, because the environment on Mars is not a utopia at all.

Although it looks like a desert on Earth, the wind speed on the Red Planet can reach 180 meters per second, three times stronger than a typhoon on Earth. The strong gale could turn into a huge choppy sandstorm with massive sands and rocks. Densely covered rocks on the surface of Mars could also cause problems for the rover.

Zhurong will take seven to eight days to perform self-checks and inspect the landing site before exiting the lander to the Martian surface, according to Geng Yan, an official with the CNSA’s Lunar Exploration Center and Space Program.

The Tianwen-1 Mars probe consists of an orbiter, a lander and a rover. In total, they carry 13 scientific instruments, six of which are mounted on the rover and seven on the orbiter.

They will conduct an in-depth study of Mars, including a global inspection and in-depth research in specific areas and an assessment of the “habitability” of the planet.

The lander will perform ground detection at a fixed location, and Zhurong will travel the planet to explore multiple sites during its lifespan of at least 90 Martian days, or 92 days on Earth.

Zhang Rongqiao, chief designer of the China Mars Exploration Mission, said the rover’s three-month lifespan was “the result of careful consideration.” He said the rover will collect all the data it needs in the first three months, with all payloads turned on, and transmit it to Earth through the orbiter for relay transmission.

The rover carries six scientific payloads: a multispectral camera, an underground detection radar, a Martian surface composition detector and a magnetic field detector, a Mars meteorometer and a terrain camera.

The rover’s multispectral camera examines Martian elements, minerals and rock types. Its surface composition detector searches for hydrated minerals by vaporizing rocks and analyzing their composition. Ground-penetrating radar digs deeper into the surface, 10 to 100 meters into the ground, to monitor soil structure and look for water or ice.

After three months, the orbiter, which returned to parking orbit to provide relay communications for the landing module, will circle the red planet to explore from above for an entire Martian year, i.e. about 23 months.

With a high-resolution camera and radar, it will map the surface and characterize its geological structure, looking for water and ice, as well as the distribution of rocks.


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