China's Tianwen-1 to perform orbital maneuvers ahead of Mars landing

Source: Xinhua| 2021-02-12 18:44:04|Editor: huaxia

BEIJING, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) -- China's Tianwen-1 probe will make several orbital maneuvers to prepare for its landing attempt on Mars, which is due to take place in the coming months, Chinese scientists said in a recent interview with Science and Technology Daily.

Experts from the China Academy of Space Technology said that the craft, which entered orbit around Mars on Wednesday, will brake to adjust the orbital inclination of the flight at the apoareion, the highest point of the orbit around Mars.

Tianwen-1 will then brake at the periareion, the point in the orbit that is closest to Mars, and adjust its orbital period to ensure that the spacecraft's track passes the preset landing site.

When the Chinese probe reaches the periareion for the second time, it will brake again to perform an orbital maneuver and make sure the lander and rover of Tianwen-1 can complete the landing on Mars at the scheduled time and place.

Finally, Tianwen-1 will decelerate again and take pictures of the landing area. It will select the optimal point in the orbit to make the lander-rover combination separate from the orbiter and enter the Martian atmosphere.

China's Tianwen-1 probe, including an orbiter, a lander and a rover, successfully entered the orbit around Mars on Wednesday after a nearly seven-month voyage from Earth.

During the Earth-Mars transfer orbit, Tianwen-1's flight was mostly unpowered. The probe was affected by the deviation of orbit entry and other factors. It had four orbital corrections to make it stay in the preset orbit.

It is expected to land on Mars in May or June. Chinese space engineers and scientists have chosen a relatively flat region in the southern part of the Utopia Planitia, a large plain, as the potential landing zone. A rover will be released after the landing to conduct scientific exploration. Enditem