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China successfully lands Mars spacecraft

China’s Xinhua news agency reported that the Chinese spacecraft, which has not yet successfully landed on the Martian surface on Saturday, made China the second farthest far away from space after the United States. Will land on the red planet

The Tianwen-1

spacecraft landed on a massive flat land called Utopia Planitia “leaving a Chinese footprint on Mars for the first time,” Xinhua said.

China’s President Xi Jinping congratulated everyone involved in the mission.

“You are brave enough for the challenge, pursue excellence, and put our country in the progressive ranks of planetary exploration,” he said. “Your outstanding achievements will forever be embedded in the memory of the motherland and its people. “

The spacecraft left orbit parked at around 1700 GMT Friday (0100 Beijing time on Saturday) .The landing module was separated from the spacecraft three hours later and entered the Martian atmosphere, China Space New news agency. States

Said that the landing process consisted of “Nine minutes of fear” as the module slowed down and then slowly descended.

Xinhua said the official landing time is 2318 GMT (0718 Beijing time), according to the China National Space Administration. The rover took more than 17 minutes to unfold the solar panels and antennas and transmit the signal to a ground controller more than 320 million kilometers away.

A rover named Zhurong will survey the landing site before exiting the platform for inspection.Zhurong, named after the legendary Chinese god of fire, has six scientific instruments, including a detailed landscape camera. high

It will study the planet’s surface and its atmosphere. Zhurong will also look for signs of ancient life, including subsurface water and ice, using ground-penetrating radar.

Tianwen-1, or “Questions to Heaven,” after a Chinese poem written two thousand years ago, is China’s first independent mission to Mars. The rover launched in conjunction with Russia in 2011 failed to leave Earth orbit.

A 5-ton spacecraft blasted off the southern Chinese island of Hainan in July last year, launched by the powerful Long March 5 rocket.

After more than six months of transportation, Tianwen-1 arrived at the Red Planet in February, where it has been in orbit ever since.

If Zhurong is successful, China will be the first country to orbit, land and launch the rover on its first mission to Mars.

Tianwen-1 is one of three to arrive to Mars in February by the US rover Perseverance successfully exposed to a massive depression known as the Jezero Crater, located more than 2,000 km from Utopia Planitia.

Hope, the third spacecraft to arrive at Mars in February this year, was not designed to land. Launched by the United Arab Emirates, it is currently orbiting Mars to collect data about its weather and atmosphere.

The first successful landings took place by NASA’s Viking 1 in July 1976 and then by Viking 2 in September that year. The former Soviet Union’s Mars rover launched in December 1971, but communication was lost seconds after landing.

China is working on an ambitious space program. It is testing a reusable spacecraft and is planning to establish a manned lunar research station.

In a speech released on Saturday, Xinhua said China “does not want to compete for leadership in space,” but is committed to “uncovering the secrets of the universe and advocating for humanity’s peaceful use of space”.

Our Standard: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principle.

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