China’s Tianwen 1 enters Mars’ polar orbit

China’s Tianwen 1 robotic probe entered the orbit above Mars’ polar regions on Monday, moving closer to the Mars , the China National Space Administration said.

The spacecraft activated its 3,000-Newton-thrust orbital-control engine at 5pm to conduct an plane change maneuver to enter polar orbit with a perigee of about 265 kilometres above the Mars , the administration said during a brief statement.

Next, the probe will perform several orbital adjustment operations to maneuver itself into a parking orbit.

In parking orbit, it’ll make observations and investigations of the preset landing site.

Before the newest maneuver, Tianwen 1 was travelling around an elliptical Martian orbit with a perigee of about 400km after its arrival in Mars’ field on Wednesday night, becoming the primary Chinese spacecraft to succeed in the earth .

Tianwen 1, the country’s first independent Mars mission, was launched by an extended March 5 heavy-lift carrier rocket on July 23, 2020 from the Wenchang Space Launch Centre in Hainan province, beginning the nation’s planetary exploration programme.

The 5-metric tonne probe, which consists of two major parts — the orbiter and therefore the landing capsule — flew for 202 days and about 475-million-km on its journey to Mars. Its average flight speed was about 100,000km per hour.

During its journey, the spacecraft conducted four midcourse corrections and a deep-space orbital maneuver to form sure it had been always precisely aimed toward Mars.

The Tianwen 1 mission’s ultimate goal is to land a rover in May or June on the southern a part of Mars’ Utopia Planitia — an outsized plain within Utopia, the most important recognised impact basin within the system — to conduct scientific surveys.

Tianwen 1 is that the world’s 46th Mars exploration mission since October 1960, when the previous Soviet Union launched the primary Mars-bound spacecraft. Only 18 of these missions were successful.

This article originally appeared on China Daily and has been reproduced with permission.

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