China will send a trio of spacecraft to Mars on July 23rd on top of the Long March 5 rocket. An orbiter will study Mars from above, while a lander and rover will be sent to the surface. Tianwen-1 will be China’s first big interplanetary mission. China has recently landed a rover on the far side of the Moon and has other space projects planned for the future. The spacecraft will reach Mars sometime in February 2021 where it will stay in orbit for about two or three months before deploying the lander and rover. Tianwen-1’s rover will map out Martian geography, look for water-ice in the soil, measure the climate of the surface of the planet, and more. It is equipped with a ground-penetrating radar that can identify different rocks and search for reservoirs of water-ice underneath the surface.
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