China spacecraft enters Mars orbit, 2nd in 2 days after UAE

Beijing, February 10

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 arrival of the orbiter-rover combo in orbit on Wednesday evening Beijing time makes it the second spacecraft in two days to reach the red planet. An orbiter from the United Arab Emirates led the way on Tuesday.

Next week, the US will try to land its Perseverance rover on the Martian surface. Only the US has successfully touched down on Mars—eight times beginning with two Viking missions. A lander and rover are in operation today.

All three Mars missions launched last July.

The Chinese mission is its most ambitious yet. If all goes as planned, the rover would separate from the spacecraft in a few months and attempt to touch down. — AP

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