TheNational hamburger logo

Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 26 February 2021

Sheikh Mohammed congratulates China on Tianwen-1 reaching Mars

The Chinese spacecraft entered orbit on February 10, hours after UAE’s Hope probe made history

An image from the China National Space Administration shows the Tianwen-1 probe en route to Mars. CNSA via AP
An image from the China National Space Administration shows the Tianwen-1 probe en route to Mars. CNSA via AP

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, has congratulated China on its Tianwen-1 spacecraft reaching Mars.

The orbiter-rover entered Mars orbit less than 24 hours after the UAE made history by becoming the fifth space agency to reach the Red Planet.

On Tuesday, Sheikh Mohammed congratulated China’s President Xi Jinping on the achievement by Tianwen-1.

“On the occasion of the successful arrival of Tianwen-1 on Mars, I would like to congratulate the People’s Republic of China and President Xi Jinping on their great achievements,” Sheikh Mohammed said.

“Space and Mars have opened up a new stage for scientific co-operation and created new opportunities for humanity to build a better future.”

The spacecraft’s on-board monitoring camera captured footage of it entering Martian orbit.

A screengrab taken from handout video from the China National Space Administration shows the view of Mars from China's Tianwen-1 spacecraft. AFP / CNSA 
This screengrab taken from handout video received from the China National Space Administration on February 13, 2021 shows the view of Mars from China's Tianwen-1 spacecraft as it circles the planet in space on February 12. AFP / CNSA

Tianwen-1 will attempt a landing in May for a 90-day exploration journey on the Martian surface. It will study the planet’s soil and rock composition and search for signs of buried water ice.

Landing missions have a high failure rate. Tianwen-1 will use a parachute, backfiring rockets and airbags in its bid to accomplish the difficult task.

It will attempt to land within Utopia Planitia, the largest impact basin known so far in the solar system. The target spot will be south of where Nasa’s Viking 2 lander touched down in 1976.

This is China’s second attempt at reaching Mars.

In 2011, it lost its Yinghuo-1 spacecraft after the Russian rocket carrying it failed mid-flight.

Nasa’s Perseverance rover is expected to reach the Red Planet on February 18.

At a cost of $2.7 billion, the nuclear-powered rover is one the most expensive Mars missions to date.

It is the world’s first return mission to Mars and will aim to bring back collected samples to Earth by 2031, through a joint Nasa and European Space Agency project.

The rover will collect rock core and soil samples near the Jezero Crater, an area on the planet that contained a lake and river delta billions of years ago.

The rover also has a mini ‘helicopter’ on board, that will be deployed on landing. This will scout areas of interest and help plan driving routes for future missions.

Tianwen-1 lifts off into space - in pictures

Updated: February 16, 2021 07:29 PM

NEWSLETTERS
Sign up to:

* Please select one