China has announced the completion of its Mars lander collision avoidance test, and this is also the first time China has made public the progress of its Mars mission spacecraft. The spacecraft will be part of China’s upcoming Mars mission, scheduled to take place in 2022, which will comprise an orbiter, lander and rover.
The test took place on 14 November in Huailai County in Hebei, where it simulated the process of descending, hovering, and landing in a simulated Mars environment, including Martian gravity. Present at the site were members of the Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization, as well as delegates from 19 embassies.
If successful, the mission – temporarily named Huoxing-1 – will be China’s first Mars mission. In 2011, the country attempted to send a space probe, Yinghuo-1, to Mars, but the spacecraft was lost in orbit and did not make the journey to the red planet.
China’s Mars spacecraft will be launched using China’s heavy-lift Long March 5, and will have the primary objective of searching for evidence of past and present life on Mars. Details of the mission here.
Next year will be a busy year for Mars, with NASA, the European Space Agency, and the UAE Space Agency also attempting to go to Mars; NASA and ESA will both send a rover, while the UAE Space Agency will send a probe named Hope, which will be launched from JAXA’s launch site in Japan, using Mitsubishi H-IIA.