China challenges US with ambitious Mars mission

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July 23, 2020
Today at
17:20

With the launch of a mission to Mars, China is broadly displaying its ambitions. It sees the space as a wingewest where it has to quickly stake out its beacons to cut the competition. A collision with the US is imminent.

It promises to get busy on the road to Mars. China launched an unmanned spacecraft to the red planet on Thursday. This happened a few days after the United Arab Emirates sent a probe to the same destination. Next week, the American mission Mars-2020 is also on the agenda. The sudden spike is because Earth and Mars are currently close together.

While the Emirates want to put themselves on the map as a technological mecca with their Mars mission, the main focus is on China’s aspirations and the associated competition with the United States. Bao Weimin, a leader in China’s space program, recently called the mission “a demonstration of the nation’s scientific and technological power.”

Heavenly questions

The Chinese mission was named Tainwen-1, which means ‘heavenly questions’. A launcher was launched on Thursday from the tropical island of Hainan, with a satellite, a landing gear and a robot car on board. If everything goes smoothly, the mission will arrive at Mars in February. Then the satellite orbits the planet for scientific observations.

The Tianwen-1 mission is a demonstration of China’s scientific and technological strength.

Bao Weimin

Director of the Chinese space program

It is planned that the robot car will be placed on Mars in April, in one of the many craters. There, the sophisticated cart will conduct soil research. Among other things, the robot has tools for drilling up to 100 meters deep. A focus is the search for traces of water or ice, which in turn can be an indication of possible life.

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If the mission succeeds, China will be the third country to land a spacecraft on Mars and the first country to succeed on the first attempt. The Soviet Union had the scoop in 1971 after two failures, but the landing gear lost contact with the control tower after 14 seconds. After several unsuccessful attempts, the United States managed to complete five landings.

Space race

The grim battle in space that the Soviet Union and the US fought in the full Cold War has given way to a Chinese-American duel. US Vice President Mike Pence warned last year about a new race in space and emphasized that this time “is even more at stake” than more than half a century ago. Pence designated China as the major competitor.

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flying in one fell swoop

With Tianwen-1, China wants to put a satellite …read more

Source:: World Today News

      

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