China has finally revealed the time to launch the Mars mission probe. The Mars exploration program will be launched in July this year. This will be China’s first Mars mission probe. This is the first time the country has disclosed the time of the launch. According to the state-owned China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), the Mars probe will be sent by the Long March-5 Y4 carrier rocket. The rocket recently completed a 100-second test for its high thrust hydrogen-oxygen engine. It was the last engine examination before the final launch. Under this program, the Chinese space agency will send a probe to orbit around Mars and land and deploy a rover on the Red Planet.
The Mars lander carrying the rover will use a parachute, retrorockets, and an airbag for a smooth landing on the surface of Red Planet. The rover will be powered by solar panels. It will perform a chemical examination of soil methodically. It will also look for both current and previous life. Besides, it will evaluate the planet’s surface and environment. The mission will be a demonstration of the technology needed for a Mars sample return mission. The program is proposed for the 2030s. The Long March-5 rocket will carry out several missions this year including the Mars mission and the lunar sample return.
Last November, China unveiled an experiment showcasing the process of a probe including hovering, avoiding obstacles and landing on the fourth and the second-smallest planet in the solar system. The experiment was held on a trial ground in Hebei province. The safe landing of the rover on Mars surface is one of the biggest challenges given that the gravity of Mars is one-third of Earth’s gravity. The Chinese Mars exploration program started way back in 2009 in partnership with Russia. The Russian Phobos-Grunt mission was launched in November 2011 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. However, the spacecraft which was carrying a piggy-backed Chinese orbiter Yinghuo-1 crashed in January 2012. After this, China began an independent Mars project. The current project was approved by the Chinese government in 2016.