China recently named its first Mars exploration mission on its Space Day- as Tianwen-1. The mission is to be launched later this year.

About the Mission

Tianwen-1 is the first Mars exploration mission of China and it is to be launched later in 2020. The name ‘Tianwen’ means ‘questions to the heaven’- taken from a poem by Qu Yuan that represents the spirit of seeking the truth.


It is to involve an orbiter, lander and rover. The objective of the mission is to study the Martian environment and look for evidences of past and current lifeforms. The mission is also seen as China’s attempt to catch up with other countries that already have launched missions to Mars- USA, Russia, EU and India.

Dong Fang Hong I

The mission’s name was announced on occasion of China’s Space Day which marks the 50th anniversary of the launch of China’s first space satellite- Dong Fang Hong I. The name means ‘The East is Red’. It was launched on 24th April 1970 and the satellite carried a radio broadcaster to broadcast the country’s national anthem.


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