A seven-month journey through outer space has finally come to an end – which represents only the beginning of a series of researches in extraterrestrial territory. The Tianwen-1 mission, on Wednesday (10), reached the orbit of Mars, after an insertion process that lasted approximately 15 minutes. Chinese and worldwide observers, who monitor the undertaking, confirmed the information, without, for the time being, any manifestation about the event carried out by Asian authorities or by the teams involved in the proceedings.
According to the independent trackers, radio signals warning about what was happening, which takes about 641 seconds to get here, were detected at 9:03 am (Brasília time) and interrupted until 9h13, during which time the equipment passed behind the Red Planet and in which communications were momentarily out of our reach, as expected. However, at 9:48 am, everything returned to normal.
Given the absence of official data related to the mission formally approved in 2016, which includes an orbiter, a landing module and a rover, compiling an accurate Tianwen-1 schedule was a real challenge for those who set out to do so, but thanks to they, we will continue to follow the performance of the three components from afar, who will remain together in the first two months of studies led by the Chinese Academy of Space Technology.
In fact, you have already checked out a photo released by the entity here at TecMundo.
Rover is among the equipment sent to Mars.Source: Reproduction
Managed by the National Space Science Center and launched on July 22, 2020 with the help of a Chang Zheng 5 rocket, Tianwen-1 has entered a highly eccentric equatorial capture orbit from Mars and will now undertake checks initial changes and occasional changes that will take it to a polar region of the planet. In any case, in April, the landing module, with the rover inside, will disconnect from the orbiter and prepare for entry into the atmosphere, descent and landing – something scheduled for the 23rd.
A combination of aerofoil, parachute, retro rocket and airbags is expected to guarantee a smooth landing on the surface of Utopia Planitia, a basin with an approximate diameter of 3,300 kilometers. Then, expeditions on the ground, lasting approximately 90 Martian days, will be initiated, powered by solar panels. Chemical and radar analyzes will look for biomolecules and bio signatures that may indicate the presence of past or current life on the Red Planet.
In fact, there are other objectives already known, presented during the 16th International Conference on Ground Penetrating Radar, in 2016, such as the production of maps and the identification of the composition of the soil and the atmosphere, in addition to checking the distribution of ice over the surface.
For now, this is just a rehearsal for something even bigger in 2030, the year the Academy intends to bring samples back and forth.
Launch took place in July 2020.Source: Reproduction
Union of forces
Much of the work is being carried out exclusively by China. Still, international support and cooperation were critical to Tianwen-1’s success. For example, the European Space Agency provided telemetry and communication support during the launch, as well as the Comisión Nacional de Actividades Espaciales (CONAE), Argentina’s space agency – which is also assisting in long-range and deep space tracking.
Finally, the Austrian Research Promotion Agency designed and partially built the magnetometer found in the orbiter, and the Center National d’Études Spatiales (CNES) in France supported the construction and development of the spectroscopy camera instrument located in the rover.
Among other curiosities, all the technologies have already been tested in the Chinese Chang’e-3 and Chang’e-4 missions to the Moon, in 2013 and 2019, and a 2,700 ton and 49,000 square meter antenna was built in Tianjin especially for the mission.
It is worth remembering that the image at the top of the article is just an illustration, since photos of the type, for now, are not viable with the technology we have.