China plans to develop a space helicopter that could explore the red planet. The aerial robot is said to resemble the design of the Ingenuity helicopter from NASA.
China is Trying to Create a Mars Robot
In an announcement released by the National Space Science Center (NSSC) on Wednesday, Sept. 1, the prototype that China has already passed the final review on Aug. 20.
The team said that the "Mars surface cruise drone" will have a micro-spectrometer.
Bian Chunjiang of the NSSC spearheaded the project.
At the time of writing, NSSC has not disclosed the particular mission where the space vehicle will be used.
China's First Mission on Mars
In February, the Tianwen-1 Mars Rover captured the first image of Mars upon its entry. Although there were problems encountered along the journey, the space vehicle was able to accomplish its task.
With regards to the Ingenuity helicopter-inspired creation, the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT) was able to release the outline for the future robotic missions on the red planet.
The agency did not give any details on when the missions will be conducted in the future.
NASA, on the other hand, has been focused on roaming around Mars in search of possible life forms.
The Mars Perseverance rover landed in February while carrying a smaller Ingenuity.
Recently, the space vehicle succeeded in its latest and 12th flight back on Aug. 16. The team recorded that the rover has flown for 169.5 seconds within 450 meters.
The international space agency is currently testing its Dragonfly drone, which will fly to Saturn's biggest moon in 2027.
It is expected to land on Titan by 2034.
China Focuses on Flying an Aircraft on Mars
From Spacenews.com's report, China has been keen on launching aircraft towards the red planet.
The country has previously released a rover intended to gather necessary information on Mars.
Among the Chinese organizations and schools that are constructing plans for Mars, explorations are the Beihang University, Shenzhen Aerospace DFH Satellite Ltd., and the Beijing Institute of Spacecraft System Engineering.
Since the thin air is a challenge on Mars, China chose an ideal design for the helicopter. The focus is to withstand the challenges en route to the red planet.
While lifting, the drone will analyze the atmosphere and collect the samples.
In July, the Zhurong Mars Rover took a picture of its Parachute and Backshell.
Through the avoidance cameras, the vehicle managed to capture the black-and-white images of its parachute-backshell. The said equipment was important for the rover upon its safe landing back in May.
China was the second country to conduct a successful landing on Mars. The first country ahead of it is the United States of America.
As per Reuters on Thursday, Sept.2, China has big plans to push the 2033 exploration for its first crewed mission.
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Written by Joseph Henry