China tests Mars lander in Hebei

China | 14 Nov 2019 6:19 pm

China unveiled an experiment simulating the process of a probe hovering, avoiding obstacles and descending to land on Mars, Xinhua reports.

The experiment was held on a trial ground, the largest in Asia for test landing on extraterrestrial bodies, in Huailai county, northern Hebei province.

China plans to launch the Mars probe in 2020, aiming to complete orbiting, landing and roving in one mission, an unprecedented achievement, according to the China National Space Administration (CNSA).

The experiment simulated the gravity of Mars, about one-third of the gravity on Earth, to test the design of the lander.

Zhang Kejian, administrator of the CNSA, said since the official launch in 2016, China's Mars exploration program has progressed well. The hovering and obstacle avoidance test for the Mars lander is a crucial step of the project.

Zhang said China has been promoting international cooperation in space exploration. To date, China has signed over 140 space cooperation protocols with 45 countries and international organizations.

China's Chang'e-4 mission embodies China's hope to combine wisdom in space exploration with four payloads developed by the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden and Saudi Arabia.

In April, the CNSA announced opportunities for cooperation with Chang'e-6 and asteroid exploration missions.

Earlier this month, China announced it would make the 16-meter optical data obtained by the Gaofen-1 and Gaofen-6 satellites available to global users.


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