After a complex orbital plot and a mission that began last July, the Chinese Tianwen-1 probe entered Mars’ parking orbit. The Chinese National Space Agency (CNSA) confirmed that Tianwen-1 entered parking orbit at 6:29 am Beijing time, the nearest location to the planet, 280 km away, with a distance of 59,000 km. CNSA pointed out that Tianwen-1 would take about two days to complete one orbit, as one day on a broken planet would take more than 40 minutes a day on Earth.
The CNSA added that Tianwen-1, including an orbiter, lander and rover, will be in orbit for about three months and will activate all orbital payloads for scientific exploration. The mid-resolution camera, high-resolution camera and spectrometer will conduct a detailed survey of the identified landing area and dust pattern in preparation for touchdown.
Tianwen-1 was launched on July 23, 2020 from the Wenchang space launch site in Hainan, an island province in southern China. After traveling in space for 215 days, the spacecraft is currently about 212 million kilometers from Earth. On February 10, the spacecraft entered orbit around Mars and made two orbits on February 15 and February 20.
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