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Chinese rover Zhurong to attempt to land on Mars this month

6 May 2021, 10:23 UTC
Chinese rover Zhurong to attempt to land on Mars this month
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Artist’s concept of Chinese spacecraft on Mars. Image via Xinhua/ The Conversation.
By Deep Bandivadekar, University of Strathclyde
For the first few months of 2021, the Martian atmosphere was buzzing with new visitors from Earth. In February, both the UAE Space Agency’s Hope probe and China’s Tianwen-1 entered Mars’ orbit.
On February 19, NASA landed the Perseverance rover with its companion, the Ingenuity helicopter, both of which have been setting new milestones since.
The next visitor to the planet will be Tianwen-1 mission’s rover Zhurong, which will attempt to reach the surface of Mars in mid-May. To enter the Martian atmosphere, it will use a slightly different technique from previous missions.
Landing on Mars is notoriously dangerous – more missions have failed than succeeded. A successful Mars landing requires entering the atmosphere at very high speeds, then slowing the spacecraft down just the right way as it approaches its landing location.
This phase of the mission, known as entry-descent-landing, is the most critical. Previous missions have used several different ways of Martian atmospheric entry.
Perfecting entry to Mars’s atmosphere has been helped by the experience of returning spacecraft to Earth. Earth may have a significantly different atmosphere to ...

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