China is planning on launching its first-ever Mars rover to the red planet in 2020. Recently, the country performed a hover and hazard avoidance test on a test model of this rover. China is planning to send the spacecraft containing rover along with an orbiter and a lander with its most potent launcher, i.e., Long March 5 rocket in July 2020. The spaceship is going to launch from Chin’s newest spaceport located on Hainan Island, the Wenchang Space Center. China invited envoys and ambassadors from fifteen plus countries, which included the European Union, France, Brazil, Italy, and the African Union. These envoys and ambassadors visited the test rig located in Hebei province in Northern China. According to the National Space Administration of China, the demo tested the Mars rover’s ability to hover & autonomously avoid hurdles during a slope in reduced gravity environment. The lander’s design was publicly unveiling of the Mars mission in last week’s event.
If the mission is launched in July 2020, i.e., next summer, it will reach the red planet in the first few months of 2021. After the landing module is released into the Martian atmosphere, the rover will land and start its exploration with an arsenal of scientific instruments. Its orbiter will revolve around Mars and will be responsible for the rover’s communications relay support along with mapping Mars’ surface. The orbiter is equipped with medium – and high -resolution cameras, a radar instrument for probing the structure of the subsurface, a spectrometer for mineral analysis, and sensors to collect data from the solar winds and magnetosphere. The rover is designed for an operation period of three months and is well equipped, just like the orbiter.
China had started its research and development for the Mars mission in 2016. This is China’s second attempt to reach Mars after Yinghuo 1 orbiter. The previous mission failed because the orbiter got stuck in the Earth orbit after launch. But, China is continuously progressing, upgrading and competing all its rival space agencies in the Space race.