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The probes on Mars in February

This month will be interesting for space exploration. 3 probes from different countries will be on Mars. Each one of the missions is described in this post.

Perseverance (USA)

The rover Perseverance is scheduled to arrive on the Red Planet on February 18. It will investigate if there was life in the past and brings the Ingenuity helicopter for technology demonstration.


More information about this mission, click in the following button.

Mars 2020 missionClick here

Tianwen-1 (China)


First China’s mission to Mars, was launched on July 23, 2020, and entered Mars orbit on February 10 this year. In addition to the spacecraft in orbit, has a lander and a rover. 

Artistic representation of Tianwen-1 in Mars
Artistic representation of Tianwen-1. Source: Forsige.

Source: Nature Astronomy

The orbiter will provide a relay communication link to the rover, while performing its own scientific observations for one Martian year. The orbit during the scientific observation stage is a polar elliptical orbit (265 km × 12,000 km). The lander/rover will perform a soft landing on the Martian surface some 2–3 months after arrival of the spacecraft, with a candidate landing site in Utopia Planitia. The ~240 kg solar-powered rover is nearly twice the mass of China’s Yutu lunar rovers, and is expected to be in operation for about 90 Martian days.

The main task of Tianwen-1 is to perform a global and extensive survey of the entire planet using the orbiter, and to send the rover to surface locations of scientific interests to conduct detailed investigations with high accuracy and resolution. Specifically, the scientific objectives of Tianwen-1 include5:

  • To map the morphology and geological structure.
  • To investigate the surface soil characteristics and water-ice distribution.
  • To analyse the surface material composition.
  • To measure the ionosphere and the characteristics of the Martian climate and environment at the surface.
  • To perceive the physical fields (electromagnetic, gravitational) and internal structure of Mars.

There are 13 scientific payloads in the Tianwen-1 mission in total. The seven instruments on board the orbiter comprise two cameras, the Mars-Orbiting Subsurface Exploration Radar, Mars Mineralogy Spectrometer, Mars Magnetometer, Mars Ion and Neutral Particle Analyzer, and Mars Energetic Particle Analyzer. The six instruments installed on the rover comprise the Multispectral Camera, Terrain Camera, Mars-Rover Subsurface Exploration Radar, Mars Surface Composition Detector, Mars Magnetic Field Detector, and Mars Meteorology Monitor.

Hope/Al-Amal (UAE)

This probe arrived on Mars orbit on February 9. Its mission is to study the atmosphere for a martian year (687 earth days). For more information about Hope, click on the link below.

HopeClick here

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