China launches Mars probe in space race with US

Katie Ramirez
July 25, 2020

- The United Arab Emirates launched its first mission to Mars, the Hope Probe, from Japan's Tanegashima Space Center on July 20.

The Tianwen-1 mission includes an orbiter that will take high-resolution photographs of Mars and other measurements while circling the planet, as well as a rover that will traverse the surface, collecting data on soil and rock composition, Chinese state media reported.

Called Tianwen-1, or "Questions to Heaven", the rover won't actually try to land on the surface for a further two to three months.

China's rover will be active for roughly 92 Earth days (90 Martian days), according to Chinese news outlet Sixth Tone, and information from the rover will be relayed to Earth via the orbiter, which should be in commission for at least one Martian year (687 Earth days). National security concerns led the USA to curb cooperation between Nasa and China's space programme. Musk has said he's like to die on Mars - presumably of old age, of course.

Now, thanks to a video, "Journey Across The Surface of Another World" produced by Britain's Elder Fox Documentaries, we're getting a look at the red planet using digital photos shot by the three rovers.

Only the U.S. has successfully landed a spacecraft on Mars, doing it eight times since 1976.

This is the first color image returned from NASA's Viking I lander, taken July 21, 1976, the day after it touched down on Mars.

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The test positive conducted by the President on Tuesday (July 21) has arrived. The president's office told AFP it "will not be commenting" on the pictures.

Sad to say, the satellites orbiting the red earth have not been ready to supply backup for these readings, and the new NASA and Chinese rovers on the red earth may well not be capable to solve the puzzle.

A successful landing is not the end of the mission.

China will not be the only nation attempting the feat.

China has already sent two rovers to the Moon. In 2019, they followed that success up with the Yutu-2 rover, which became the first spacecraft to softly touch down on the farside of the moon.

Tianwen-1 will use a combination of a capsule, parachute and a retro-rocket to burn off entry speed and slow itself to a stop right at the surface.

Previous NASA/JPL Mars missions lasted far beyond their initial design requirements, and the LN-200S had to prove its reliability to make it on board. Europe has tried twice to land spacecraft on Mars, failing both times. If all goes well, the Tianwen-1 mission will look for underground water as well as evidence of possible ancient life. It's set to arrive at perhaps the most fascinating point in the history of space exploration - as astronomers, planetary scientists, and biologists all attempt to understand the martian environment.

Stunning visuals of planet Mars have been captured by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) robotic rovers named Curiosity, Spirit, and Opportunity.

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