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US News China succeeds in putting a robot on Mars, a first

16:45  15 may  2021
16:45  15 may  2021 Source:   nouvelobs.com

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  La Chine réussit à poser un robot sur Mars, une première © Copyright 2021, the obs

mission delicate but accomplished: China posed this Saturday 15 May a small remote robot on the surface of March, a first for the Asian country that testifies to its more and more ambitious spatial aspirations.

The Chinese had launched in July 2020 from the Earth their uninhabited mission "Tianwen-1", of the name of the probe sent in space. It is composed of three elements: an orbiter (which revolves around Mars), an airstrier (which landed Saturday on the red planet) and on board a remote robot, "Zhurong".

The landing of "Tianwen-1" took place at 7:15 am to Beijing (1:18 in Paris) in an area of ​​the red planet named "Utopia Planitia", a vast plain located in the northern hemisphere of March, said the Chinese spatial agency (CNSA).

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"Hello Mars"

in blouse in front of control screens, engineers of the Chinese space program applauded the announcement of the news. Public TV CCTV broadcast a special edition entitled "Nihao Huoxing" (Hello Mars) and Chinese President Xi Jinping has congratulated.

Landing on the red planet is far from easy: in the past, many European, Soviet and American missions have failed. In 2011, China tried to ship to March a probe during a joint mission with Russia. But the attempt had been capacked and Beijing has since resolved to continue the adventure alone.

In February, "Tianwen-1" had settled in Martian orbit and managed to take clichés. Early Saturday, China managed to pose the armchair, which will allow the "Zhurong" robot to go out. Realize these three operations during an inaugural mission to March constitutes a world first.

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Search signs of life spent

The arrival on Mars was a critical moment. Once in the atmosphere of the red planet, the landing module of "Tianwen-1" has deployed a parachute to start a perilous descent of several minutes, explained the space agency.

Chinese rocket out of control: the probability of an impact on an inhabited zone is "tiny"

The module then stabilized 100 m above the surface to identify the obstacles and then arose. And the lander has maneuvered to "land all alone," says Chen Lan, site analyst GOTAIKONAUTS.COM, specialized in the Chinese spatial program.

because given the distance with the Earth, a signal issued since March "18 minutes" before reaching engineers, according to the Chinese media. "In the event of a problem, no one on earth could not help," says Chen Lan at AFP.

with a weight of about 240 kg, "Zhurong" must drive soil analyzes, atmosphere, take pictures and map the red planet. China already has experience in this area: it rolled two small robots on the moon, the "jade rabbits" 1 and 2 - deposited respectively in 2013 and 2019. The mission on Mars must also seek possible signs of past life.

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billions to catch up with Europe, Russia and the United States

"Zhurong" arrives on March a few months after Perseverance, the Rover of NASA, the American space agency, which landed on February 18th. The name "Zhurong" was chosen after an online survey and refers to the god of fire in Chinese mythology. A symbolic justified by the name in Chinese of March: "Huoxing", literally "the planet of fire".

China invests billions of euros in its spatial program, in order to make up for Europe, Russia and the United States.

Perseverance, the mission of NASA in search of life on March

in 2019, she laid a gear on the hidden face of the moon - a world first. Last year, samples were reported on Earth. The Asian giant also plans to assemble a large spatial station by 2022. And he hopes to send men on the moon in a ten years. The first of the three elements of its spatial station was launched at the end of April.

To finalize construction, China should launch a dozen missions, some of which inhabited. No precise calendar is for the first time.

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