Credit: CCTV/Inside Outer Space screengrab

 

China’s Tianwen-1 probe on Wednesday entered a parking orbit around Mars after performing an orbital maneuver, according to the China National Space Administration (CNSA).

Launched on July 23, 2020, Tianwen-1 successfully has completed its third braking at Mars yesterday at 6:29 a.m. (Beijing time). The parking orbit’s farthest point from Mars is 36,660 miles (59,000 kilometers) and the nearest distance from the planet is 174 miles (280 kilometers).

It takes two Martian days for the probe to orbit Mars. While doing so, the multi-part probe (an orbiter, lander/rover) will undertake scientific exploration of Mars from orbit for three months. All of the seven mission payloads on the probe’s orbiter will be gradually activated. 

China’s Mars orbiter. All of the seven mission payloads on the probe’s orbiter are being gradually activated. Credit: Zou Yongliao, et al.

According to CNSA, onboard cameras and spectrometers will assess the pre-selected landing site and Martian weather to prepare for a May/June touchdown of the lander/rover.

Entry arc

If all goes according to plan, China’s Mars orbiter will be briefly placed in a deorbit and entry arc to release the landing capsule replete with a rover. The rover will egress from the lander onto the Martian surface a few days after touchdown, following an appraisal of the surrounding terrain.

Credit: Zou Yongliao, et al.

Credit: CCTV/Inside Outer Space screengrab

For at least 92 Martian days, the rover is to make on-the-spot surveys of Mars. Chinese space engineers and scientists have selected candidate landing zones within the relatively flat region in the southern part of the Utopia Planitia.

 

 

 

 

 

Go to this informative video on the braking maneuver at:

https://youtu.be/w3G0YcauCMg

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