The populous Asian country of China has announced that its Tianwen-1 spacecraft has finally entered the orbit around Mars on a mission to land a rover and collect data on underground water and possible signs of ancient life.
The orbiter-rover combo’s arrival in orbit on Wednesday evening Beijing time makes it the second spacecraft in two days to reach the red planet. An orbiter from the United Arab Emirates led the way on Tuesday.
The United States by next week is expected to land its Perseverance rover on the Martian surface.
In fact as at today, only the U.S. has successfully touched down on Mars – eight times beginning with two Viking missions and at the moment a lander and rover are in operation in the area.
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The three Mars missions were all launched in July last year.
The mission embarked by the Chinese is the most ambitious. If all goes as planned, the rover would separate from the spacecraft in a few months and attempt to touch down.