China Rover To Attempt Mars Landing Over Coming Days
Umer Jamshaid 1 month ago Fri 14th May 2021 | 03:10 PM
Beijing, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 14th May, 2021 ) :China's "Zhurong" rover, part of its ambitious space programme to send a probe to Mars, is set to attempt the challenging landing on the Red Planet in the next five days, Beijing's space agency said Friday.
The tricky touchdown, if successful, would come a few months behind America's latest probe to Mars, as Beijing presses ahead with its increasingly bold space ambitions.
"Based on current flight conditions, the Tianwen-1 probe intends to choose an opportunity to land ... in the period from early morning Saturday to Wednesday Beijing time," the China National Space Administration said in an online statement.
The spacecraft, which entered Mars' orbit in February, has now reached "crucial touchdown stage", the state-run tabloid Global Times said Friday. It will land in a vast northern lava plain known as the Utopia Planitia.
Speculation about a Saturday landing has been rife on social media after a top spaceflight expert estimated the rover -- named after a mythological Chinese fire god -- would reach the surface in the morning Beijing time.
The complicated landing process has been called the "seven minutes of terror" because it happens faster than radio signals can reach Earth from Mars, meaning communications are limited.
The latest successful arrival came in February, when US space agency NASA landed its rover Perseverance, which has since been exploring the planet.
The US rover launched a small robotic helicopter on Mars which was the first ever powered flight on another planet.
It is expected to spend around three months there.
China successfully launched the first module of its new space station last month with hopes of having it crewed by 2022 and eventually sending humans to the Moon.
That drew criticism from the United States and other nations for a breach of etiquette governing the return of space debris to earth, with officials saying the remnants had the potential to endanger life and property.