China’s unmanned Mars probe, Tianwen-1, blasts off on a Long March 5 rocket in Hainan, July 23, 2020. [IMAGE: CHINA DAILY]

The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) has contributed great efforts to the successful launch of a Mars probe, which was carried aloft by a Long March-5 Y4 rocket from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in South China’s Hainan Province at 12:41 p.m. on July 23.

About 36 minutes after launch, the spacecraft, including an orbiter and a rover, was sent into the Earth-Mars transfer orbit, embarking on an almost seven-month journey to the red planet, according to the China National Space Administration (CNSA).

China’s first Mars mission is named Tianwen-1, which means Questions to Heaven.

Photo taken on July 17, 2020 shows the Long March-5 rocket at the Wenchang Space Launch Center in South China's Hainan Province. [IMAGE: CHINA NATIONAL SPACE ADMINISTRATION]

Participating in the research tasks, CAS played a leading role in demonstrating and putting forward scientific goals and payload configuration plans for the mission. It worked on the development of the ground application system, the payload subsystem, and the very long baseline interferometry (VLBI) orbit measurement subsystem as well as a number of key engineering key products. The academy will also work with the CNSA on scientific data application research.

As many as 13 institutions of CAS undertook scientific research tasks of the Mars mission, including the National Astronomical Observatories, National Space Science Center, Shanghai Astronomical Observatory, Yunnan Observatory, Xinjiang Astronomical Observatory, the Changchun Institute of Optics, Fine Mechanics and Physics, the Xi’an Institute of Optics and Precision Mechanics, the Aerospace Information Research Institute, the Institute of Optics and Electronics, the Shanghai Institute of Technical Physics, the Institute of Geology and Geophysics, the University of Science and Technology of China, and the Institute of Solid State Physics.


The institutions have made breakthroughs in the research of large-range data transmission between the Earth and Mars, high-precision, low-delay and multi-target interferometry and orbit determination prediction, key payload development and data processing technology, and special aerospace material development.

With successful experience in China’s lunar missions Chang’e 1, 2, 3, and 4, CAS has trained a team of qualified, experienced engineering management and technology development professionals in the fields of lunar and deep space exploration data reception and processing, VLBI, light and miniaturized payload development, and key aerospace materials.

In addition, a group of outstanding young and middle-aged scientists at CAS have been working in planetary science and other emerging research fields, and are expected to make original scientific achievements in life information on Mars, the local structure of Mars, the Martian magnetic field and its formation and evolution, the geological characteristics and evolution of Mars, and other Mars-related areas.




Source: Chinese Academy of Sciences

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