Tianwen-1: Chinese Rover lands on Mars

On May 14, 2021, the Chinese Spacecraft Tianwen 1 landed on Mars successfully. It was launched in July 2020 on a Long March 5 rocket.

About the landing

  • Tianwen 1 has been orbiting Mars for three months now. The lander that carried the Zhurong rover touched down the Martian surface successfully.
  • It landed in the Utopia Planitia region.
  • However, when the lander entered the Martian atmosphere, the spacecraft endured “Seven Minutes of Terror” as that of the Mars Perseverance rover of NASA.

Utopia Planitia of Mars

  • It is a plain in the northern hemisphere of the planet. The region is mostly flat and smooth but has craters. Also, the region has Aeolian ridges. Aeolian means wind sculpted.
  • Scientists have observed that the region is covered by mud flows. Some even believe that groundwater may have existed long back.

What is the Seven Minutes Terror faced by the landers?

The EDL phase, called the Entry Descent Landing is called the “Seven Minutes Terror” phase. The phase happens faster than the time taken by the radio signals to reach the Earth from Mars. This means that the spacecraft is on its own during this phase and is thus called the “”seven minutes of terror. The phase begins as the lander enters the Martian atmosphere and thus the name of the phase is prefixed with ‘Entry’.

The EDL phase ends when the rocket powered sky crane lowers the lander safely to the martian surface. During this seven minutes several crucial things occur.

Zhurong rover

It is to investigate surface soil characteristics and potential water ice distribution.

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