China unveils the first picture of its Mars explorer, set to be launched in 2020

The probe is expected to launch in 2020. It will orbit around, land on and tour the planet, probing the surface, soil, environment and atmosphere there

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The China Aerospace Technology Corporation revealed the first image of its Mars explorer, a probe that will be launched in 2020.

Related: Chinese space program

China’s Mars exploration will mainly study life on mars, Mars ontology (morphology and geological structure; surface features and distribution of ice; surface composition; martian inosphere features and climatic environment on the surface; mars’ physical field and internal structure), and long-term transformation and prospects of building a second human habitat.

Ye Jianpei, chief scientist of Space Science and Deep-space Exploration with the Chinese Space Technology Academy said “the mission is going smoothly. If no surprise, the Mars explorer is going to be launched in 2020, and land before 2021. […] Mars exploration is very innovative. If it proves to be a success, it will be the world’s first time a country completes the three tasks in one mission.”

The explorer will be sent into the geosynchronous orbit via the heavy-lift Long March 5 liquid carrier rocket, then have a seven-month flight to Mars.

As the country’s strongest carrier rocket, the Long March-5 has a payload capacity of 25 tons in low-Earth orbit and 14 tons in geostationary transfer orbit.

“Mars opposition” occurs when the Red Planet is particularly close to Earth.

china mars mission

The explorer can travel the shortest distance, with the lowest fuel consumption when this rare cosmic event occurs, which happens every 26 months.

The next time “Mars opposition” occurs is in October 2020, that’s why scientists choose to launch next year, among other factors.

China’s upcoming steps in deep space exploration

Besides the mission to Mars in 2020, a second mars exploration will begin in 2028, with Mars soil samples brought back to Earth.

Around 2030 an asteroid exploration will be conducted, and the exploration to the Jupiter system will start around 2030.

Source: ecns

Topic: china mars mission

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