Successful liftoff of China's Tianwen-1 Mars mission met with celebration, suspicion on Twitter

The lander and rover will perform a soft landing on Utopia Planitia, around two to three months after it arrives to Mars.


China's Mars mission, Tianwen-1, has launched today, 23 July 202o at 10.12 am IST from the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center on Hainan Island in China. The mission named Tianwen-1 is the first interplanetary mission the Chinese space agency has undertaken, and the world's first Mars mission comprising of an orbiter, rover and lander.

The spacecraft was launched using China's largest carrier rocket, Long March-5, and weighed (including fuel) around 5 tonnes.

The spacecraft is expected to reach Mars around February 2021 and begin its scientific observation phase in April 2021.

Artist illustration of the Tianwen-1's lander/rover on the Mars surface. Image credit: China Academy of Space Technology/Twitter

Artist illustration of the Tianwen-1's lander/rover on the Mars surface. Image credit: China Academy of Space Technology/Twitter

The China National Space Administration (CNSA) has named the mission 'Tianwen-1' after a poem by a popular ancient poet in Chinese history, Qu Yuan.

The lander and rover will perform a soft landing on Utopia Planitia, around two to three months after it arrives to Mars. It a large plain in the largest crater – Utopia – on Mars.

This will be the second interplanetary mission that will be launched this year after the United Arab Emirates successfully launched their Hope Probe on 20 July. NASA is also planning to launch its fifth Mars rover, called Perseverance, on 30 July.

Here are some Twitter reactions that caught our attention:

Suspicions were raised about whether the launch was a success

However, an insider reported that things are "nominal through SECO-1" as the rocket's second stage coasts towards the equator.

Chinese news agencies Xinhua News, China Daily and CGTN have also tweeted confirmations on the successful launch of the Chinese Mars mission.


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