Tianwen-1: China launches ambitious Mars mission, know all about it!

Tianwen-1 includes a Mars orbiter, a lander and a rover. It will reach Mars in February 2021, at the same time as UAE’s Hope Orbiter and NASA’s Perseverance rover. 


Tianwen-1: China launched its first ambitious Mars Rover Mission- ‘Tianwen-1’ on July 23, 2020 aboard Long March 5 rocket from Hainan Island's Wenchang Satellite Launch Center.

As per China’s space agency, the rocket carried the Mars probe for 36 minutes before successfully placing it on the looping path, which will take it beyond Earth's orbit and eventually into Mars’ more distant orbit around the sun.

Tianwen-1 includes a Mars orbiter, a lander and a rover. The mission, if successful, will mark a huge first in human history, as it includes a Mars orbiter, lander and rover all in one go. 

Tianwen-1- China’s Mars Mission: All you need to Know!

What is Tianwen-1?

Tianwen-1 is China’s first fully homegrown Mars mission. The name of the Mars probe has been taken from a poem by Qu Yuan, who lived from the 4th -3rd B.C. and it means “Questions to Heaven.”

Why is Tianwen-1 being called ambitious?

China’s Mars mission Tianwen-1 includes an orbiter, a lander and a rover- all together for the first-ever time. None of the countries have yet attempted to send all three at once to the Red Planet. Other nations have taken a more staggered approach to visiting Mars, first with an orbiter, then a lander and rover. China will attempt to operate all three components in one go for the first time.

Mars Orbiter

China’s Mars orbiter aims to study Mars and its atmosphere for about one Martian year- approximately 687 Earth days. The orbiter has two cameras, Mars-Orbiting Subsurface Exploration Radar, a detector to study the Martian magnetic and gravitational field and three other scientific instruments.

Using the Mars-Orbiting Subsurface Exploration Radar instrument, the orbiter will be able to investigate soil characteristics and water-ice distribution on the red planet. The Mars orbiter will also serve as a relay back to Earth for communicating with the rover component of the mission. 

China’s Mars Rover/ Lander

•  China will attempt to land its rover/ lander in the Utopia Planitia region in the mid-northern Martian latitudes. NASA’s Viking 2 mission had touched down there in 1976. 

•  The Mars Rover is carrying cameras, ground-penetrating radar and other instruments. It aims to last for about 90 Martian days and investigate the surface soil characteristics and water-ice distribution with its own Subsurface Exploration Radar. 

•  The rover will also analyze surface material composition and characteristics of the Martian climate and environment on the surface. 

•  It will also aim to better understand the distribution of ice on Utopia Planitia, which has a layer of water ice equivalent to what is found in Lake Superior on Earth.

Where will Tianwen-1 land?

Tianwen-1 landing site: China’s Mars probe will be landing in an area called Utopia Planitia, which is a huge basin that was allegedly formed by a large impact way back in Mars' history. NASA's Viking 2 lander had also touched down in the same area in 1976.  China has isolated a portion of the vast plain as a candidate landing area, running from Isidis Planitia to the big volcano Elysium Mons. 

When is Tianwen-1 expected to reach Mars?

Tianwen-1 will reach Mars in February 2021, at the same time as UAE’s Hope Orbiter and NASA’s Perseverance rover. However, China’s rover/ lander will take about 2-3 months from then before attempting its landing on the Martian surface. 

China’s first Mars Mission

China’s first Mars Mission was an orbiter called Yinghuo-1, which was launched aboard a Russian rocket along with Russia's Phobos-Grunt mission in November 2011. The launch had failed and all spacecraft aboard eventually fell back to Earth.


China’s Mars probe launch is the second Mars mission to be launched this month, following the launch of UAE’s Hope space probe to Mars on July 19, 2020. NASA is planning to also launch its Mars Perseverance rover next week. All three missions are planning to take advantage of the rare window of 26 months when Mars and the Earth are closer than usual. They are all expected to arrive at Mars next year. 

Only two nation’s have successfully landed on Mars so far- the United States and the Soviet Union. However, the 1971 Soviet mission had lost contact after less than two minutes. Only the US has managed to land on Mars in one piece.

Also read: UAE launches first-ever Arab space mission to explore Red Planet

Take Weekly Tests on app for exam prep and compete with others. Download Current Affairs and GK app

एग्जाम की तैयारी के लिए ऐप पर वीकली टेस्ट लें और दूसरों के साथ प्रतिस्पर्धा करें। डाउनलोड करें करेंट अफेयर्स ऐप

Read the latest Current Affairs updates and download the Monthly Current Affairs PDF for UPSC, SSC, Banking and all Govt & State level Competitive exams here.
Jagran Play
खेलें हर किस्म के रोमांच से भरपूर गेम्स सिर्फ़ जागरण प्ले पर
Jagran PlayJagran PlayJagran PlayJagran Play

Monthly Current Affairs PDF

  • Current Affairs PDF September 2023
  • Current Affairs PDF August 2023
  • Current Affairs PDF July 2023
  • Current Affairs PDF June 2023
  • Current Affairs PDF May 2023
  • Current Affairs PDF April 2023
View all

Monthly Current Affairs Quiz PDF

  • Current Affairs Quiz PDF September 2023
  • Current Affairs Quiz PDF August 2023
  • Current Affairs Quiz PDF July 2023
  • Current Affairs Quiz PDF June 2023
  • Current Affairs Quiz PDF May 2023
  • Current Affairs Quiz PDF April 2023
View all