On the night of May 15, 2021, China became the thirda country after the United States and the USSR, which was able to successfully land its own rover on the surface of Mars. It is called "Chzhuzhong" and is intended for the exploration of the Martian plain of Utopia. It is believed that the device will study the surface of the planet using scientific instruments, among which there is a georadar capable of diving to a depth of 100 meters. This plain was chosen as the landing site because once upon a time on its territory there could be water with living organisms living in it. This means that the Zhuzhong rover may well be the first to find traces of life on Mars. On the occasion of a significant event, I tried to collect as much interesting information as possible about the new device - it has not yet been mentioned on our website. Let's look at these facts, and also find out what mistake some foreign publications make when talking about the new achievement of Chinese scientists.
The first Chinese rover
The landing of the Chinese rover was made inwithin the framework of the mission of the interplanetary station "Tianwen-1". It consists of three parts: an orbiting satellite, a landing platform and the aforementioned rover. Unlike NASA's aerospace agency, Chinese scientists do not usually broadcast live. So interesting shows were not even worth passing. For now, there is just a fact - the Zhuzhong spacecraft successfully made a soft landing and is now exploring the surrounding space. Once the exploration is complete, the rover will exit the platform and begin a more thorough study of the Martian surface.
Mars rover "Chzhuzhong" weighs 240 kilograms andcomparable in size to the American Spirit and Opportunity, which were launched in January 2004. To study Mars, he will use instruments to study the depths of the planet, as well as track the magnetic field and weather conditions. On top of all this, the device is equipped with a high-resolution camera, so we should definitely wait for beautiful photos of a distant planet. We will publish them on our Telegram channel, so subscribe right now to keep abreast of developments. The device will use solar panels to generate energy.
According to one of the authors of Ars Technica,a soft landing on the surface of Mars is a daunting task. First of all, the complexity is due to the fact that on a distant planet, the atmosphere is completely different compared to the Earth, and scientists have to carry out a lot of calculations and act almost blindly. And if we take into account that information from Mars is transmitted with a long delay, then this seems like an impossible task at all. American experts believed that the probability of a successful landing of the Chinese rover is only 50%. It is a pity that the scientists did not broadcast live - it would be interesting to see how everything happened.
It's actually funny that experts estimated the success of the planting at 50%. In fact, their assumption sounds like "the rover will either land successfully or crash." In any case, their prediction would have been correct. Very comfortably.
It is planned that the rover will work onthe surface of Mars for about three months. If all of his systems continue to work well, the duration of his work is likely to last. All this time, the Tianwen-1 satellite will be in the orbit of the Red Planet, which will serve as an intermediary in the transfer of information between the rover and the Earth.
You have probably already noted to yourself that the namethe Zhuzhong rover sounds very strange. It was named after the Chinese god of fire, who is described in the ancient treatise "The Book of Mountains and Seas" as a creature with the body of a beast and the face of a man. This god often uses a chariot with dragons as a means of transportation.
See also: Chinese spacecraft "Tianwen-1" took a new photo of Mars
The first rovers of the USA and the USSR
Some foreign publications report that Chinabecame the second country that was able to successfully land a research vehicle on the surface of Mars. In fact, it is the third - the first places are occupied by the USA and the USSR. The first ever soft landing on the Red Planet was made on December 2, 1971 by the descent vehicle of the Soviet interplanetary station Mars-3. Unfortunately, no major discoveries were made as part of this mission - the device began transmitting information to Earth 1.5 minutes after landing, but it lasted only 14.5 seconds.
And the first US Mars rover is Sojourner,which made a soft landing in July 1997. Instead of the planned 30 sunny days on Mars, he was able to work 83 Martian days. During this time, the device was able to overcome a 100-meter distance, but it could not make particularly important discoveries. But the very fact that it is the first successful US Mars rover is very impressive.
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If you would like to know more about the Chinese Tianwen 1 mission, I recommend reading this article. There I also gave some interesting facts.