World News: On Thursday, China launched its most awaited probe to Mars, Tianwen – I in its first independent mission to visit another planet, from Wenchang Satellite Launch Center, Hainan Island.
Tianwen – 1 comprises of an orbiter and a lander and rover duo, a combination of craft that has never been launched together towards the Red Planet before. The ambition of Tianwen – 1 is startling, considering that it is China’s first attempt at a Mars mission.
Watch Launch Video:
“Tianwen – 1 is going to orbit, land and release a rover all on the very first try, and coordinate observations with an orbiter,” team members wrote in a recent Nature Astronomy paper, remarking that “No planetary missions have ever been implemented in this way. If successful, it would signify a major technical breakthrough.”
If the Tianwen – 1 mission is successful, China will be the new member of an international community of explorers on Mars, comprising the US, Europe, Russia, India, and the UAE.
Earlier, a Red Planet orbiter called Yinghuo – 1, launched by China in November, 2011, failed leaving the probes trapped in Earth’s orbit.