China, which continues to make strides in space science, on Thursday launched a spacecraft to study the closest planet to Mars.
The United States also plans to launch another spacecraft on July 30 to study Mars. Competition has now arisen between the two countries in search of immense celestial bodies.
China has named its Mars mission Tianwen-1 (“Curiosity of Heaven”).
Launched from China’s Henan Province, the spacecraft was launched from China’s Long March 5. The engineer and other staff members exchanged greetings saying that the launch was successful.
Site Commander Zhang Zhuyu announced the success of the launch from the state-run CCTV television.
The five-ton Tianwen-1 will return to Earth in February 2021 after a journey of 55 million kilometers in about seven months. The mission has a Mars orbiter, a lander and a rover. According to Chinese scientists, these instruments will be used to study the soil of Mars.
Jonathan Madawell, an astronaut at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center, said he could not be optimistic about China’s first-ever effort. He said the United States had already conducted such a test.
Other countries have also started participating in the Mars search campaign. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) also launched a vehicle from Japan last Monday.
But the main competition will be between China and the United States. China has been conducting extensive campaigns in recent years in an effort to end US dominance in space exploration. Agency