Now that China has landed on Mars, what is the mission’s next step?

Now that China has landed on Mars, what is the mission's next step?

China recently went down in history with a successful spacecraft landing on the surface of Mars. The event marked an important step in China’s space program and launched new international exploration efforts on the red planet.

And announced the new Chinese News Agency (Xinhua) about the landing on May 15, saying: “China left a footprint on the surface of Mars for the first time, which is an important step for space exploration in our country.”

The Chinese space program has already achieved many unmanned successes Missions to the moon. The last spacecraft to land in the country has succeeded, gathering material from the surface of the moon. It was the first time in more than 40 years that a nation had gathered lunar material to bring it back to Earth.

The Chinese spacecraft Chang’e-5 collects samples from the moon on the moon in this image posted by the China National Space Administration (CNSA) on December 3, 2020 (CNSA / Handout via REUTERS)

However, landing a spacecraft on Mars is much more difficult than landing on the surface of the Moon. The vehicles need special equipment to protect against the extreme heat of the Martian atmosphere. The spacecraft also needs special missiles to slow down and parachutes to be deployed in time to avoid an emergency landing.

Historically, there have been many landings on Mars. So far, only three countries – the United States, China and the Soviet Union – have successfully landed spacecraft.

The United States has made nine successful landings on Mars since 1976. This includes the most recent Task Which NASA participates in The Perseverance Explorer Or Rover. The USSR Mars 3 spacecraft landed safely in 1971. But that mission ended seconds later when the spacecraft’s instruments failed.

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There are other spacecraft currently orbiting Mars. The UAE launched one and arrived in February. The UAE mission to explore Mars is studying the conditions of the Martian atmosphere from a very high orbit. Three other spacecraft in orbit belong to the United States, two from Europe and one from India.

The Chinese spacecraft, Tianwen-1 – which includes an orbiter, lander and craft – spent seven months on its journey to Mars. It landed in Utopia Planitia, a large flat area in the northern half of the planet.

His thief, Zhurong, is named after the Chinese god of fire. The solar powered six-wheel car weighs 240 kilograms and is called the Xinhua. It has several cameras and other tools that use radar. The laser Sensors to measure weather conditions and magnetic forces.

Zhurong studies the planet’s surface and atmosphere. Like NASA rovers past and present, it will also look for signs of ancient life. Includes snow and possibly other water below the planet’s surface. The data collected by Zhurong is sent to Earth via the Tianwen-1 orbiter. Last week, China released the first images of its Mars rover.

Roberto Urosi is a planetary scientist at the Institute of Radio Astronomy in Bologna, Italy. He is told nature An important part of the mission can help confirm previous studies indicating their presence Permanently frozen In the area around Utopia Planitia.

Studies have found evidence that permafrost can hide just below the surface. Urosi said radar equipment to search for land inside the rover could detect signs of this permafrost.

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Knowing the depth of permafrost and learning about its formation could provide new information about recent climate changes on Mars. Urosi added that scientists are trying to understand what happened to the ancient waters that they believe covered the surface.

NASA’s innovative Mars helicopter can be seen in orbit during its third flight on April 25, 2021, as seen through the left navigation camera aboard NASA’s Mars Rover. (Photo credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech)

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson praised China’s successful landing on Mars.

As the international scientific community of robotic explorers on Mars grows, the United States and the world are looking forward to the discoveries that Zhurong will make. Progress In his statement, he said, “humanity’s knowledge of the red planet.” “I look forward to future international discoveries, which will aid in information and development Opportunities “We have to land on Mars in human shoes,” Nelson added.

I’m Brian Lynn.

Brian Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English, based on reports from Reuters, The Associated Press, Xinhua, Nature, and NASA. Katie Weaver was the editor.

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Words in this story

Task – n. Flight of an aircraft or spacecraft to perform a specific mission

Permanently frozen N. Part of the Earth is permanently frozen below the surface

Progress Fifth. To evolve or move forward

AbilityN. The ability or ability to do something

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