onsdag 22. juli 2020

Mars is the latest arena in the US-China rivalry, with both countries launching probes this month

Two years after humans last landed a probe on Mars, both the United States and China are launching missions to the red planet this month and setting up a new arena for their growing rivalry.Weather permitting, China's Tianwen-1 is expected to blast off Thursday from Hainan Island in the country's south, though the government has yet to publicly confirm the date. NASA's Perseverance rover is scheduled to launch on July 30. Both probes are expected to reach Mars in February 2021. 

Perseverance aims to answer questions about the potential for life on Mars, including seeking signs of habitable conditions in the planet's ancient past and looking for evidence of microbial life. The rover has a drill which can be used to collect core samples from rocks and set them aside to potentially be collected and examined by a later mission. 

If successful, Perseverance will be the seventh probe NASA has landed on Mars, and the fourth rover. Curiosity, which landed on the red planet in 2012, is still sending back data about the Martian surface.