China’s new Mars mission: A global perspective

China’s new Mars mission


China, on 24th April, 2020, Friday which is china’s “space day”, celebrated its 50th anniversary for the launching of their first satellite. On this space day, china announced its new mission to be known as Mars Lander: Tianwen-1. The announcement of this new mission is the result of China’s National Space Administration (CNSA), Tianwen which means, “Quest for Heavenly Truth.

In July, China will be launching its first Tianwen-1: Mars mission which is expected to get landed on the surface of Red Planet’s Surface (Mars) by the first quarter of 2021.

The success of this Mars mission will make china the third country after the United States and the USSR.

Background and Significance of this Development

The Tianwen-1 will lift off on Long March 5 rocket from Wenchang launch center. The launch system for the probe is developed by the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT). This Tianwen- 1 launch mission will carry 13 payloads including seven orbiters and six rovers. It is an all-in-one orbiter, lander, and rover


This spacecraft machine is designed to orbit around the celestial body without landing on the surface of mars. It aims to the transmission of various planet’s observations, meteorology, and covers various aspects of planetary exploration.


A lander is a lightweight spacecraft shuttle which comes in contact and rest on the surface of an astronomical body. This spacecraft is used for scientific research and operates either autonomously or robotically.


Rover is a ground exploration device which strives to explore and move across the solid surface of a planet. This rover includes various radar detectors, navigation cameras and the meteorological measurement instrument.

This all-in-one shuttle of Tianwen-1 will be the first ground penetrating radar (GPR) to image about the depth of 100 meter below the Martian surface. The aim of this shuttle is to conduct scientific investigations about the local geology, study of the atmosphere, search for the surface of water, rock and environmental conditions of Mars. According to CNSA, the shuttle on the ground with radar will also perform various chemical analysis on the soil, and look for biomolecules and biosignatures.

This Mission Effect on International Relations

This mission to other countries will enunciate the zeal to proliferate more in-depth research regarding the expansion of space shuttle in the solar system. The Tianwen-1 which is going to get launched in July, 2020 creates a competition to explore more in the area of Mars, followed by the United States and the USSR. The United States has already launched four space shuttles to  Mars and plans to launch the 5th space shuttle. NASA has also launched its spacecraft on 17th July, 2020 and will land on the red planet on 18th February, 2021.

The United Arab Emirates is also planning to launch its first “Emirates Mars Mission” probe to the red planet (Mars) in July 2020 with the help of Japan. The reason for launching this many satellites is because Earth and Mars are closest at this point of time.

The Tianwen-1 Mission will become a major part of this competition between the USA, UAE for the exploration of more in-depth search of the red planet. This will also unleash other countries to send their probe to Mars for further finding to whether the red planet can sustain life.

Space Law Regarding Mars

In 1967, the Outer Space Treaty was formed which stipulated the principles governing the various activities of other states in the exploration and the use of outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies such as Mars. The basic ideology behind the formation of this treaty is to legalize the feasibility of colonizing celestial bodies. For the conduct of human activities in outer space, the laws of International law applies. For the Mars colonization there are various private companies such as SpaceX which needs to get the approval as per state colonization as being the particular private entity conducting outer space activities. Thus, for this as per Article 6 of Outer Space Treaty,1967, the private companies conducting space activities need to obtain authorization before conducting their activities and must submit to their State’s supervision.

There is no Mars colonization by a particular state that will occur without following the norms governed by the outer space treaty. It is the responsibility of every country to ensure that they have applied the provisions of International space law before sending any rover to Mars or any colonization of Mars by any private entity.

Critical Analysis

The Farthest distance between Earth and Mars is around 400 million kilometers while the shortest distance is around 55 million kilometer. Depending upon the nearest point of position in orbit, the launching of the probe takes place. The probe will take around seven months to reach the atmosphere of Mars.

The Tianwen-1 which is an all in one probe including orbiter, lander and rover. They will set to go altogether. After reaching a certain point near the atmosphere of mars, the orbiter will revolve around the orbit of Mars while the inclusion of lander-rover (Combination of both altogether) will take landing on the surface of Mars.

The rover is set to have six wheels, six scientific instruments, and four solar panels. The weight of the probe is around 200 kilograms and will conduct the work on the planet Mars for around three months.


Mars have many similar features like volcanoes, clouds, polar ice caps which have made many scientists wonder whether Mars can sustain life. In recent years there are various missions that have been conducted for the exploration of Mars planet. The scientists have reached many findings such as the presence of water which enhances the curiosity among scientists to explore more. The Tianwen-1 is a unique probe that is going to launch in July 2020 which will be the first ground-penetrating radar (GPR) to image about the depth of 100 meters below the Martian surface. This mission is aiming to discover many new requisite materials on planet Mars to know whether humans can sustain life on planet Mars in the future.

Written by Jagrit Chawla

Jagrit Chawla is currently pursuing B.B.A. LL.B from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University. He has represented India at Kathmandu Dialogue for upliftment of South Asian Countries. He has in depth knowledge of International Humanitarian laws and Business laws with a determined conceptual ideologist aiming at understanding different scenarios of South Asian countries and their laws to uplift eastern and deprived sections. He has numerous accomplishments including Moot Court, Paper Writing and Presentation. He is an enthusiastic eminent personality who has zeal to disseminate the knowledge of law among the legal fraternity.

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