Chinese Mars Mission Got Its Official Name — Tianwen-1

The modern space race between the US, Russia, and China is a never-ending story. Every time one of them does something, the other two must come up with something that would ad least make the equal, if not to overpass the other two. Chinese Mars mission got its name, in the latest news.

They are like three teenagers that can’t find a way to stop comparing with the others. Since NASA is still holding tight on the Perseverance mission on Mars, China couldn’t fall behind, so it stays tight on its own mission on Mars.

The name of the first Chinese Mars mission

Tianwen-1 is the name of the mission, and it was reconfirmed Friday by the official Xinhua news agency. The mission was first confirmed in January 2020, but with the pandemic lockdown, a reconfirmation was needed. And what better occasion than China’s annual Space Day, when the space agency turns 50.

China’s space agency intends to launch the uncrewed mission this year. The name of the satellite mission was given after a Classical Chinese poem written more than two millennia ago, by Qu Yuan. The word Tianwen is the Chinese expression for Heavenly Questions:

  • When the primal matter was the only form?
  • How could it be recognized?
  • Upon what are the heavens folded?
  • How are the sun and moon attached?
  • How are the constellations arrayed?

The Chinese Mars mission

Those from above are some of the questions that made Qu Yuan ruminate. In July 2020, a Long March 5 heavy-lift rocket will deploy Tianwen-1 in its journey to Mars. Its mission is to answer new questions since those of Qu Yan were answered to meanwhile. Further questions such as “was there life on Mars?” or “can we live on Mars?” need answers.

The Chinese Mars mission will investigate the surface and environment of the Red Planet. The goal is to produce maps of the surface topography, by collecting data on the soil characteristics, material composition, water ice, atmosphere, and ionosphere field.

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