China successfully launches Mars probe that packs an orbiter, lander, rover

State media posts short vid and says Tianwen-1 is doing just fine so let’s just go with that shall we?


China has successfully launched a Mars probe.

The middle kingdom’s previous red planet effort, 2011’s Yinghuo-1, rode on a Russian rocket that failed to leave Earth orbit and therefore did not fulfill its orbital observation mission.

For this new mission, dubbed Tianwen-1, China has used its own Long March 5 heavy lifter and packed in an orbiter, lander and rover.

Chinese State media has confirmed the launch and a People’s Daily social media post includes video of a rocket heading upwards and says it’s Mars-bound.

China’s being typically cagey about the mission, which is believed to plan a landing with a combination of parachutes and airbags before the rover deploys a range of instruments capable of investigating Martian magnetic fields, geology and chemistry. The orbiter packs a camera capable of two-metre resolution from a height of 400kms, plus more magnetosphere-sensing kit.

If the mission succeeds, China will join the USA, Soviet Union, European Union and India as successful sponsors of Mars missions. Only the USA, Soviet Union and EU have landed rovers on the red planet.

China did not live stream the launch and its National Space Agency hardly mentions the mission on its website, never mind conduct the kind of post-launch show that the likes of SpaceX offer.

A stream of news will likely follow if the mission succeeds, as joining the very small club of nations that has successfully reached Mars’ surface would be yet another display of China’s emergence as a scientific superpower. ®

Similar topics

Broader topics

Narrower topics


Other stories you might like

  • Tesla driver charged with vehicular manslaughter after deadly Autopilot crash

    Prosecution seems to be first of its kind in America

    A Tesla driver has seemingly become the first person in the US to be charged with vehicular manslaughter for a deadly crash in which the vehicle's Autopilot mode was engaged.

    According to the cops, the driver exited a highway in his Tesla Model S, ran a red light, and smashed into a Honda Civic at an intersection in Gardena, Los Angeles County, in late 2019. A man and woman in the second car were killed. The Tesla driver and a passenger survived and were taken to hospital.

    Prosecutors in California charged Kevin George Aziz Riad, 27, in October last year though details of the case are only just emerging, according to AP on Tuesday. Riad, a limousine service driver, is facing two counts of vehicular manslaughter, and is free on bail after pleading not guilty.

    Continue reading
  • AMD returns to smartphone graphics with new Samsung chip for your pocket computer

    We're back in black

    AMD's GPU technology is returning to mobile handsets with Samsung's Exynos 2200 system-on-chip, which was announced on Tuesday.

    The Exynos 2200 processor, fabricated using a 4nm process, has Armv9 CPU cores and the oddly named Xclipse GPU, which is an adaptation of AMD's RDNA 2 mainstream GPU architecture.

    AMD was in the handheld GPU market until 2009, when it sold the Imageon GPU and handheld business for $65m to Qualcomm, which turned the tech into the Adreno GPU for its Snapdragon family. AMD's Imageon processors were used in devices from Motorola, Panasonic, Palm and others making Windows Mobile handsets.

    Continue reading
  • Big shock: Guy who fled political violence and became rich in tech now struggles to care about political violence

    'I recognize that I come across as lacking empathy,' billionaire VC admits

    Billionaire tech investor and ex-Facebook senior executive Chamath Palihapitiya was publicly blasted after he said nobody really cares about the reported human rights abuse of Uyghur Muslims in China.

    The blunt comments were made during the latest episode of All-In, a podcast in which Palihapitiya chats to investors and entrepreneurs Jason Calacanis, David Sacks, and David Friedberg about technology.

    The group were debating the Biden administration’s response to what's said to be China's crackdown of Uyghur Muslims when Palihapitiya interrupted and said: “Nobody cares about what’s happening to the Uyghurs, okay? ... I’m telling you a very hard ugly truth, okay? Of all the things that I care about … yes, it is below my line.”

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022