China successfully completes landing test on Mars
Beijing : The China has successfully completed the crucial landing test for the historic unmanned exploration mission to Mars 2020.
Chinese space agency chief Zhang Kejian said that the country is well on its way to launch its Mars mission next year.
During the test, the landing rover underwent a hovering-and-obstacle avoidance test at a sprawling site in Huailai, northwest of Beijing. The site was littered with small mounds of rocks to simulate the uneven terrain on Mars which the lander would have to navigate on its descent to the planet’s surface.
“In 2016, China officially began the Mars exploration mission work, and currently all of the different development work is progressing smoothly,” Zhang said.
“The hovering-and-obstacle avoidance test for the Mars lander being carried out today makes up a crucial part of the development process. As scheduled, China’s first Mars exploration mission will take place in 2020.”
The landing rover will be lifted by the powerful Long March 5 rocket.
According to known information, the journey to Mars will take complete seven months, while landing on the planet will take only seven minutes.
The landing will be the toughest and most challenging stage, Zhang Rongqiao said.
China expects to complete a modular space station around 2022, around the time when NASA is said to start building a new space station laboratory to orbit the moon, as a pit stop for missions to other parts of the solar system.