China may involve helicopters in Mars sample return mission

China may involve helicopters in Mars sample return mission

HELSINKI – China is sharpening the details of its Tianwen-3 mission to collect samples from Mars and deliver them to Earth.

The new mission details and stated objectives were announced in a presentation at the International Conference on Deep Space Science in Hefei, Anhui province, on April 22.

The mission will use a pair of Long March 5 rockets to send two separate spacecraft to the Red Planet around 2030 with the goal of collecting and returning 500 grams of samples.

Mission objectives include searching for evidence of life on Mars, understanding the Red Planet’s environmental and climatic evolution, and its possible past habitability.

The two long March 5 launches will carry the lander and ascent vehicle, and the orbiter and return module, respectively. Entry, descent and landing will build on the technology used for the Zhurong rover landing as part of China’s Tianwen-1 Mars mission.

Sampling, like China’s 2020 Chang’e-5 lunar sample return mission, will use a lander-based robotic arm to collect surface samples and a drill to collect material from two meters below the surface.

In a new development, the landing segment will also have a limited capability to collect samples near the landing site, using a six-legged crawling robot or a helicopter such as Ingenuity. The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) unveiled a prototype of the latter in 2021.

The collected samples will be sent to Mars orbit using a two-stage ascent vehicle. It will consist of a solid first stage and a liquid propellant upper stage with a total mass of at least 360 kilograms.

The ascent vehicle will then dock with the orbiter and return module, assisted by a robotic arm. The collected material will then be transferred to the return module for return to Earth.

A vague timeline for launch suggests, but does not confirm, a slip from the previously stated 2028 launch schedule.

China’s mission profile for Mars sample return, introduced in June 2022, was launched in late 2028 with samples delivered to Earth in July 2031.

The 2028 timeline will see samples delivered to Earth before the NASA-ESA Mars sample return mission. Similarly, the mission aims to deliver around 500 grams of Martian sample to Earth.

The landing site is being selected with invited input from international teams. Engineering constraints meant that the landing would take place between 17 and 30 degrees north latitude due to power and lighting requirements. The landing ellipse will be 50 by 20 km.

Potential locations need to be at least 3,000 meters above zero-elevation level, or equivalent to sea level on Earth. This provides the lander with more atmosphere to slow its descent to the Martian surface.

Site selection will also be balanced by science objectives. The chosen site will need to consider astrobiological relevance, with priority given to Martian terrain older than 3.5 billion years.

Environments suitable for the emergence and maintenance of life such as sedimentary or hydrothermal systems, evidence of past aquatic activity, and geological diversity were noted as key priorities. This

According to presentations, the mission will also adhere to the highest standards of planetary protection protocols.

Liu Jizong, director of China’s Lunar Exploration and Space Program Center under CNSA, and Hou Zhengqian of the Institute of Geology, Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, gave presentations in Hefei, which were later shared on Chinese social media.

#China #involve #helicopters #Mars #sample #return #mission

Pitcher Streamer Rankings Fantasy Baseball - 4/23 & 4/24 |  Pitcher list

Pitcher Streamer Rankings Fantasy Baseball – 4/23 & 4/24 | Pitcher list

Kevin Charron, Senior Lead Refurbishment Operations Manager at Bake Market (supplied image)

I’m a Cellphone Repair Expert – Here’s a big charging mistake everyone makes