NASA’s Perseverance rover and its Ingenuity chopper have been sweeping all the headlines lately. But they aren’t the only machines who get to take the lion’s share on the Martian surface. China launched a rover mission at the same time as NASA’s Perseverance, but instead of landing, it entered Mars’ orbit.
Months later, the Chinese space agency believes it is the right time to land the rover on the Red Planet. The Tianwen-1 mission is the country’s first-ever mission to Mars. China is sending a rover, an orbiter, and a lander all at once.
Studying Martian surface
The orbiter will continue circling Mars, while the lander and rover will land on the Martian surface. After the landing, the rover will be deployed and its hardware will extract information from the Martian soil and conduct several experiments.
Once the orbiter reaches the designated separation point it will release the lander and the rover tucked inside a capsule, which will have to take the intense heat generated by the thin atmosphere of Mars. After the landing, the lander will release the rover to commence its Mars journey.
Unlike NASA’s Perseverance rover that is meant to last on Mars for years, Chian’s rover is expected to survive for only 90 Martian days. During its mission, the rover will examine its landing site to study the Martian surface. Besides, it will look for ice and other such features of the Red Planet.
Could survive more than 90 sols
China’s rover may last more than 90 Martian days, as happened with many rovers in the past. NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover has been collecting samples from its surface and has come across many rocks that appear odd, some even resembling dinosaurs. Its Ingenuity also set a new record by becoming the first spacecraft to take off from Mars’ soil.
Moreover, a new study has indicated that Mars was once tectonically active. The seismic activity occurring beneath the surface formed valleys and trenches on the planet. New research shows evidence of volcanic activity on Mars in the last 50,000 years.