Mission to Mars Tianwen-1: three-fold challenge for China

From the publication of the scientists of the Chinese Academy of Space Technology and the Institute of Spacecraft System Engineering, published in may, 2017, in

Mission to Mars Tianwen-1: three-fold challenge for China

From the publication of the scientists of the Chinese Academy of Space Technology and the Institute of Spacecraft System Engineering, published in may, 2017, in "Science China" on the occasion of the first Chinese Mars mission, speaks quite respectful of the task at hand. It requires major technological developments, the so far not yet technically is accustomed to dealing with a new and, in many aspects, unknown environment, as well as comprehensive experimental preparations. In fact, the Chinese project is anything but modest. At the time of the first Mission to the red planet, called "Tianwen-1", want to realize the Chinese a three-fold goal: first, a probe into planetary orbit to bring, and, secondly, a landing can be accomplished; and thirdly, a Rover for surface exploration on the way to send.

Sibylle Anderl

editor in the features section.

F. A. Z. Twitter

at the beginning of last year, China has shown, however, that it is grown as a space-faring nation of the complex challenges that quite. For the first time, it is realized in the framework of the "Chang'e 4"-Mission with a soft landing on the far side of the moon, where since then, the Rover "Yutu-2" explored the surface. For the landing, it was necessary to bring a satellite in the vicinity of the earth-moon Lagrange point L2, where around 60,000 kilometres remains beyond the moon at a constant relative Position to the moon and the earth, and as a Relay for communication can be used.

Many of the elements of the previous moon missions acquired Know-How, will now also be on the journey to Mars is helpful, although the task is different in several important ways: The Mars is around a thousand Times so far. Messages are equivalent to approximately 20 minutes instead of just one and a half seconds on the way, so that missions must operate very much more independent from ground control. The dusty and rough Mars underground brings specific uncertainties, and also on Mars, the received solar radiation is weaker.

Particularly difficult, especially in comparison to the moon, but the landing on our neighbouring planet. In the thin atmosphere, a strong deceleration must be achieved in order for a country ferry crashed into. The Chinese expect with a entry speed of the 240-kilogram Landers of nearly five kilometers per second (18,000 km per hour) at an altitude of 125 kilometres, which must be removed within seven minutes. Due to the interaction with the atmosphere, the Lander is heating up and needs to be protected from the heat accordingly. At the same time the atmosphere is too thin to allow the use of a parachute to be sufficient. Support must therefore be used braking rockets.

As challenging as that is, it shows the international mission statistics: 18 Country only ten were successful so far: nine American and one Russian. In order to give the Mission enough space and a little more time for the landing, not have chosen the Chinese two possible landing sites in the lowlands of Utopia Planitia, which lie far from the landing sites of the two Viking probes Nasa. The landing should be made two to three months after the arrival of the Mission in February 2021, the Orbiter will perform as a Relay for communications with the Rover but also its own scientific observations. For this, he is wearing seven on-Board instruments, cameras, ground penetrating radar, spectrometer, Magnetometer and instruments for the analysis of cosmic particle radiation. A further six instruments on Board the Rover.

The scientific objectives of the Mission are accordingly comprehensive. The morphology and geological structure of Mars to be mapped, the surface in terms of ground-, rock -, and ice-distribution and their chemical composition are investigated, the Ionosphere, and the climate can be researched, measured, as well as the electromagnetic and gravitational field of Mars, so that conclusions as to the Interior of the planet is possible. To start the Mission at the earliest on Thursday morning from the Baikonur Wechang on the island of Hainan, with a rocket of the type Long March 5.

Updated Date: 22 July 2020, 15:20

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