May, 2021 - By WMR
China Lands on Mars for the very first time, a serious step forward for its space aspirations.
For the very first time, China landed a spacecraft on Mars, making it the third country to have successful landing on the Red Planet. Before exploring Utopia and Planitia (areas in the northern hemisphere of the Red Planet), the rover will stay in a lander for a few days before rolling down a ramp. Soon it will join an American rover that landed in February 2021, on Mars. China first landed on the red planet last month when it launched the core module of the Chinese space station and completed its mission to transport rocks from the moon at the end of last year.
China has landed on moon before, however landing on the red planet was much more difficult. While entering the Martian atmosphere, the spacecraft used protective shields to protect itself from the heat. In addition, it also used retro rockets and parachutes to slow down, which prevents hard landings. The spacecraft named Taiwan-1 was orbiting Mars since February 2021, after arriving from 6 ½- month voyage from Earth. Named after the Chinese god of fire, Zhurong, this rover is supposed to be positioned for 90 days to find any evidence of life. Comprising of ground penetrating radar, a laser, and sensors to gauge the atmosphere and magnetic sphere, it is about a size of a small car. The mission is not only astrobiological but also a technology demonstrator. Zhurong may even find and store some rock and soil samples to bring back to earth for its upcoming return mission planned in the 2030s.
Among the 11 planned missions, the launch of main module of China Space Station was the first. By the end of the next year, a 3-person crew will be established, supported and dispatched. China aims to build a scientific base on moon and land people there. No timeline is released for these projects as of now.