Landers / Rovers

Artist's concept of the Tianwen 1 mission's vehicles (Image courtesy CNSA / Chinese Academy of Sciences / Nature Astronomy)

A few hours ago the lander and rover of the Chinese Tianwen 1 mission landed successfully on the planet Mars, in the Utopia Planitia region. The event was confirmed by the Chinese space agency making China the third nation to land a vehicle on the red planet after the USA and the then USSR. The rover, which was named Zhurong, has a life expectancy of at least 90 days during which it will explore the area by making surveys with a series of instruments. The orbiter, which reached Mars together with the lander and rover on February 10, 2021, continues its work from above.

The Ingenuity helicopter's shadow (Photo NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Yesterday, the Ingenuity helicopter conducted its first flight on planet Mars. The duration was only 40 seconds and it reached an altitude of just over 3 meters but it was important to lift off the ground this drone built to test the technologies needed to fly a vehicle in the Martian atmosphere, which is very thin. The flight was autonomous, pre-scheduled, and initiated by a command launched from Earth. The images, along with telemetry data, were transmitted to the Mars Rover Perseverance mission control center.

The first image of Mars captured by the Mars Rover Perseverance (Photo NASA/JPL-Caltech)

A few hours ago, the Mars Rover Perseverance and the Ingenuity helicopter landed successfully on Mars, in Jezero Crater. Launched on July 30, 2020, these are the two vehicles of NASA’s Mars 2020 mission. With more than 1,000 kg of weight on Earth, Perseverance even surpasses the Mars Rover Curiosity, of which it’s an evolution. For at least a Martian year, it will examine the area of ​​a geologically very interesting crater, collecting samples that mighy be returned to Earth by a future mission.

Mars seen by Tianwen 1 (Photo courtesy CNSA/CASC)

Yesterday, the Tianwen 1 mission reached the planet Mars, and the spacecraft which includes a space probe, a lander, and a rover entered its orbit correctly. Launched on July 23, 2020, it’s an ambitious mission for China with plans to explore Mars in various ways after successfully starting various missions to the Moon. The main spacecraft engined burned for about 15 minutes to perform the braking maneuver needed to enter an orbit that will reach up to 400 kilometers of altitude. The landing timeline and location in the Utopia Planitia region of the lander and rover will be decided later for a phase of the mission that could take place in May or June.

The Moon's surface seen by the Chang'e-5's lander, including its shadow (Photo courtesy China National Space Administration/CLEP)

It was night in China when the lander and ascent vehicle of the Chinese Chang’e-5 mission successfully completed their Moon landing maneuvers. The various modules that make up Chang’e-5 were launched when it was November 24 in China and reached the Moon’s orbit in recent days. At that point, a series of maneuvers begun to make its orbit circular, the modules that were scheduled to land separated, and everything went well. Very soon, the lander was scheduled to begin its excavation work to collect soil and subsoil samples that will be sent into orbit to be returned to Earth around mid-December.