Tag Archives: aerospace/robotic-exploration

China Says Its Mars Landing Technology Is Ready for 2020

Post Syndicated from Andrew Jones original https://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/aerospace/robotic-exploration/china-says-its-mars-landing-technology-is-ready-for-2020

China says it’s ready to attempt something only NASA has so far achieved—successfully landing a rover on Mars.

It will be China’s first independent attempt at an interplanetary mission, and comes with two ambitious goals. Launching in 2020, China’s Mars mission will attempt to put a probe in orbit around Mars and, separately, land a rover on the red planet. 

The mission was approved in early 2016 but updates have few and far between. Last week, a terse update (available here in Chinese) from the Xi’an Aerospace Propulsion Institute, a subsidiary of CASC, China’s main space contractor, revealed that the spacecraft’s propulsion system had passed all necessary tests. 

According to the report, the Shanghai Institute of Space Propulsion has completed tests of the spacecraft’s propulsion system for the hovering, hazard avoidance, slow-down, and landing stages of a Mars landing attempt. The successful tests verified the performance and control of the propulsion system, in which one engine producing 7,500 Newtons of thrust will provide the majority of force required to decelerate the spacecraft for landing.

China Grew Two Cotton Leaves on the Moon

Post Syndicated from Andrew Jones original https://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/aerospace/robotic-exploration/china-grew-these-leaves-on-the-moon

The team behind a pioneering biological experiment sent to the lunar far side has released an image showing two green leaves grown on the moon.

The experiment began shortly after China’s Chang’e-4 spacecraft made the first ever landing on the far side of the moon, on 3 January this year.

Cotton, arabidopsis and potato seeds, and fruit-fly eggs and yeast were all aboard the 2.6-kilogram mini biosphere, but only the cotton produced positive results. 

Image processing has now shown that two cotton leaves had grown—rather than just one as initially thought—in what was the first biological growth experiment on the moon.