While countries around the world are racing their missions to Mars, China’s recently developed 70-metre-diameter reflector antenna and Asia’s largest have completed its acceptance check and are all ready to be used for the country’s first Mars mission, Tianwen-1, which is expected to enter the orbit of Mars next week.
The construction of a massive radio telescope to serve the maiden voyage of China’s mission to Mars began in 2018 in the northern region of Tianjin. It was over just in time for the approach of the spacecraft to the Red Planet.
The new dish antenna, which was launched on Thursday, consists of 1,328 high-precision panels covering an area equal to ten basketball courts, according to local media reports.
The 72-metre-long antennae, which weigh about 2700 tons, are all set to receive data from the Tianwen-1, which is some 400 million kilometres away from Earth and is expected to soon enter the gravity of the Red Planet.
China’s Tianwen-1 is moving towards the Red Planet at a distance of 170 million kilometres from Earth. It is expected to land on the planet’s gravitational field and ‘make a brake operation’ and eventually enter the Mars orbit around February 10, the day before Chinese New Year’s Eve, the report states.
According to an earlier report, this ambitious Mars mission may, if successful, place China among the world’s space leaders. The mission will not only consist of an orbiter, but will also include a rover and a lander – a trifecta that no other nation has been able to pull out to date.
The landing of Mars is considered to be one of the most difficult things to achieve. So far, there have been a total of 18 Mars missions, including either landers or rovers. But only ten of them have been successful. Of the ten, nine were from NASA.
Prior to this, China has completed a few lunar missions yet has just made one endeavor on Mars. In 2011, it sent an orbiter to the Martian moon Phobos. Be that as it may, the mission fizzled and the test sent by China consumed upon passage into Mars’ environment.
Meaning to find India, U.S., Russia and the European Union to arrive at the red planet, China’s Mars mission intends to finish circling, landing and meandering in one mission.