Chinese Spacecraft Enters Mars’ Orbit, Joining Arab Ship

In this undated photo released by the China National Space Administration, a view of the planet Mars is captured by China's Tianwen-1 Mars probe from a distance of 2.2 million kilometers (1.37 million miles). A Chinese spacecraft appears poised to enter orbit around Mars on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021, one day after an orbiter from the United Arab Emirates did so, and about a week ahead of an American attempt to put down another spacecraft on the surface of the red planet. (CNSA/Xinhua via AP)

(AP) — China says its Tianwen-1 spacecraft has entered orbit around Mars on a mission to land a rover and collect data on underground water and possible signs of ancient life. The orbiter-rover combo is the second spacecraft to reach the red planet in two days. An orbiter from the United Arab Emirates led the way on Tuesday.

Next week, the U.S. will try to land another rover on the Martian surface. The Chinese mission is its most ambitious yet. Plans call for its rover to separate from the spacecraft in a few months and attempt to touch down. That would make China the second country to successfully land on Mars after the United States.


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