While space is becoming the next battleground domain for superpower rivalry between the US and China, China announced Wednesday morning its Mars space probe, Tianwen-1, has “successfully” entered the red planet’s orbit.
“China’s first Mars probe Tianwen-1 has successfully entered the orbit of the red planet after a crucial “brake” to decelerate and be captured by Mars gravity,” according to China National Space Administration (CNSA).
#BREAKING China’s first Mars probe Tianwen-1 has successfully entered the orbit of the red planet after a crucial “brake” to decelerate and be captured by Mars gravity, according to #CNSA. pic.twitter.com/jx2TaN9Z8l
— CGTN (@CGTNOfficial) February 10, 2021
CNSA told state-run Global Times after a 15-minute firing of its 3,000-newton engines, Tianwen-1 “reached an elliptical Mars orbit at around 400 kilometers from the planet.”
After surveying the planet, Tianwen-1 will select a landing spot and touch down between May and June.
Here’s the timeline of the Mars research mission:
AP News also confirms that the Chinese orbiter-rover has entered the orbit around Mars, becoming the second spacecraft to arrive at the red planet in the past two days.
On Tuesday, a spacecraft from the United Arab Emirates entered into orbit around Mars. This is UAE’s first interplanetary research mission.
China’s ambitions in space have been increasing in recent months. In December, China landed a spacecraft on the moon and collected lunar rock samples.
The final frontier is space – the rivalry between the US and China will be for control of the Moon and Mars.