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China’s Tianwen-1 Mars mission wins international space award

A 'selfie' taken by China's Zhurong Mars rover during the Tianwen-1 mission.

A ‘selfie’ taken by China’s Zhurong Mars rover through the Tianwen-1 mission.(Image credit: China News Service)

China’s Tianwen 1 Mars mission has been awarded among the spaceflight world’s most prestigious awards.

The Tianwen 1 spacecraft lifted faraway from Wenchang spaceport on July 23, 2020 and entered Mars orbit in February 2021. The mission’s solar-powered Zhurong rover then successfully landed in the Red Planet‘s Utopia Planitia plain in-may that year.

The mission completed a historic first-ever combined orbiting, landing and roving in one launch, earning the mission the International Astronautical Federation’s annual space achievement award on Sunday (Sept. 18) through the 73rd International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Paris.

Related: The most recent news about China’s space program

International Astronautical Federation (IAF) President Pascale Ehrenfreund introduced the team behind the development of the spacecraft at a highlight lecture as of this year’s IAC.

Jilian Wang, vice president at the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) that developed the spacecraft, presented a synopsis of the mission and outlined a few of the major scientific achievements up to now in a highlight lecture, including a global mapping of the Red Planet and a returning data offering evidence for an ancient Martian ocean.

Wang also noted visual highlights from the mission, including Mars orbit selfies and orbital insertion videos.

Tianwen 1 is continuing its extended science missions in Mars orbit, but down at first glance the Zhurong rover is currently hibernating to see out the wintertime in Mars’s northern hemisphere.

The 530-pound (240 kilograms) solar-powered rover happens to be expected to awaken and resume activities in December or January, when more solar technology reaches Mars, a mission team member said throughout a question and answer session.

China can be looking to follow-up its Mars success having an ambitious mission to get samples from Mars and deliver them to Earth. The mission is known as Tianwen 3 and can involve a couple of Long March 5 launches China’s largest rocket around 2028 to send landing and orbiter spacecraft to the Red Planet.

Before this, the united states aims to conduct its first asteroid sample-return mission with Tianwen 2, launching around 2025.

The missions may also be apt to be available to international cooperation. “We desire to partner with an increase of space agencies, space companies, universities and all sorts of other entities,” Wang said. “As always, international partners are welcome to become listed on us.”

Japan’s Hayabusa2 team asteroid sample return mission won the award in 2021. China previously won (opens in new tab) the IAF award in 2020 for the Chang’e 4 landing on the other side of the moon.

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Andrewis a freelance space journalist with a concentrate on reporting on China’s rapidly growing space sector. He began writingfor Space.com in 2019 and writes for SpaceNews, IEEE Spectrum, National Geographic, Sky & Telescope, New Scientist among others.Andrewfirst caught the area bug when, as a young child,hesaw Voyager images of other worlds inside our solar system for the firsttime.From space,Andrewenjoys trail running in the forests of Finland.It is possible to follow him on Twitter@AJ_FI (opens in new tab).

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