China spacecraft Tianwen-1 has reached Mars for its first exploration mission. The spacecraft is preparing to explore the planet’s surface in May, looking for signs of ancient alien life on the planet and information about water under the Martian surface.
Made up of a rover and orbiter in combination, the Tianwen-1 spacecraft has three missions to the red planet arriving this month. The shuttle will float around Mars, but in a few months the rover will detach and float down to the surface.
The challenge of the mission, though, will be managing to land a rover on the Martian surface. So far, only Nasa has achieved it.
The attempt to land Martian soil will involve a parachute, back-firing rockets and airbags and the intended landing site will be inside the bulky, rock-strewn Utopia Planitia, which is about the size of a golf cart.
Reaching Mars records the first time China has successfully made the trip after its attempt with Russia in 2011 failed. The spacecraft took off from Earth seven months ago onboard a Long March-5 carrier rocket from Hainan Island.