China’s Tianwen-2 Mission Intends to Collect Asteroid Rocks

China’s Tianwen-2 mission is prepared to begin a scientific exploration of asteroids and comets. This is after the Tianwen-1 mission’s successful launch and operation.  The mission has obtained official approval. Preparations are already in motion for its launch, according to the China National Space Administration (CNSA). Tianwen-2 will aim for the small near-Earth asteroid 2016 HO3, as opposed to the last mission, which was dispatched to Mars.

The goal of this mission is to gather rock and soil samples from the asteroid’s surface. The mission aims to bring the samples back to Earth to conduct a more detailed investigation. Throughout the course of the solar system’s formation more than 4.6 billion years ago, rocky pieces called asteroids were created. The term “near-Earth object” refers to an asteroid that is less than 1.3 times the distance between the Earth and the Sun from the sun. This categorization is offered by the NASA Joint Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

Tianwen-2 will track main-belt comet 311P in addition to collecting samples from the asteroid as part of its mission, which goes beyond this. An academic seminar in April will be used to finalize the mission’s scientific objectives. In addition, it will finalize the technological advancements needed to accomplish them.

In February 2021, China’s Tianwen-1 spacecraft successfully entered orbit around Mars. In a little over a year, the orbiter explored the whole planet. Through capturing images of canyons, craters, and other surface features on Mars, the spacecraft was able to achieve this. In the largest known impact basin on the Red Planet, the Zhurong rover, which was part of the mission, set down and investigated a sizable plain. The rover went into winter sleep but hasn’t been able to emerge from it.  Chinese scientists are frantically trying to determine what went wrong. This is because the rover was solar-powered rather than nuclear-powered like other American rovers.

With achievements like the first lunar far side landing and the first successful Mars mission, China’s space program has advanced recently. According to the nation’s lofty goals for space exploration, a space station will be built and people will eventually be sent to the Moon.

Asteroids contain stony bits that can be collected and studied. This is due to the fact that they possess information regarding the formation and evolution of the solar system spanning billions of years. The Tianwen-2 mission has set its sights on the small near-Earth asteroid 2016 HO3. Its collection of samples will give researchers important knowledge about the asteroid’s past and current makeup.

The Tianwen-2 mission aims to deepen China’s understanding of the solar system. It will do so by exploring asteroids and comets, representing another important turning point in the country’s space program. The mission’s goal to gather and examine samples from 2016 HO3 is expected to yield priceless information. A more comprehensive comprehension of the asteroid’s origins and composition will be enabled through this. The Chinese space program is anticipated to keep making outstanding progress in the field of space exploration. It will solidify its position as a significant player in the international space race.

China’s Shenzhou-15 Astronauts Conduct Classified Second Spacewalk

The Shenzhou-15 astronauts from China, Fei Junlong and Zhang Lu, have completed their second extravehicular exercise in the past several days. They did so by doing a spacewalk outside the Tiangong space station. But for the first time, China gave no prior notice or other information about the event. As a result of this, it raised questions about the lack of transparency around Its space endeavors.

The Chinese Human Spaceflight Agency, CMSA, only revealed that crewmate Deng Qingming from Tiangong and ground crews supported the spacewalk. Apart from this information, CMSA did not disclose any other information about it.

In contrast to earlier Tiangong EVAs, the spacewalk is being conducted in secrecy. CMSA had announced, albeit in general terms, that Tiangong EVAs operations will occur soon. EVA video has previously been made available by Chinese state media. Some experts have called for greater openness and transparency surrounding China’s crewed spaceflight efforts. The experts said that other space actors may find the lack of transparency to be problematic.

Ahead of the National People’s Congress, China’s annual parliamentary session, there is now a reorganization of key government roles. The National People’s Congress begins on Sunday, It’s probable that the secrecy surrounding the most recent spacewalk was motivated by sensitivity to impending changes. China’s human spaceflight activities are frequently closely kept secrets. In addition, even the identities of the crews for prospective missions aren’t made public until one day before launch. This is done at carefully planned press conferences.

China has begun the process of selecting the first foreign astronauts to journey to the space station. Also, it is getting ready to expand its Tiangong outpost. A fourth batch of astronaut candidates is currently being chosen in the nation. The most recent hires include engineers and payload specialists. China releases white papers every five years outlining its intentions and priorities for the years to come in the civilian sector.

China’s Zhurong rover on Mars was anticipated to start up again in December in Utopia Planitia. Its inactivity has been observed during the winter in the northern hemisphere. After the rover’s anticipated reactivation around the spring equinox, however, space officials have yet to issue an update on its conditionThe rover has been stationary for months, as evidenced by images from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. In addition, it might have acquired a layer of Martian dust. This would have prevented Zhurong from producing enough heat or electricity.

Experts have called for greater openness and honesty about setbacks and unforeseen difficulties. This is a result of the lack of transparency surrounding China’s space efforts. China will need to increase transparency. Furthermore, it will need to position itself as a more conventional space power as it develops its space program.

China’s Zhurong Rover Uncovers Mars’ Multilayered History in The Latest Discovery

Significant information on the complex history of Mars’ surface has been discovered by China’s Zhurong rover. Data from Zhurong’s ground-penetrating radar instrument revealed the presence of buried craters and other sloping features just beneath the surface of Mars. This is according to research published in the journal Geology of the Geological Society of America.

Ground-penetrating radars used in the investigation also indicated that Mars’ underlying structure differs greatly from that of the Moon. The presence of numerous sand dunes on Mars may have contributed to the craters’ rapid burial. This has lessened space weathering and revealed the complete contour of their walls.

As portion of the Tianwen 1 mission, Zhurong was launched in July 2020. Its landing in May 2021 occurred on the expansive plain of Utopia Planitia. The location was supposed to include the shorelines of a potential ancient ocean; therefore, the landing site was selected based on engineering and scientific criteria. The detection of water or ice trapped beneath the surface was one of Zhurong’s ground-penetrating radar’s goals.

Scientists are optimistic that opening this window into Mars’s subsurface will reveal critical information about the planet. This includes its geological history, hints about earlier climate conditions, and perhaps even proof of the existence of water or ice. This is despite the fact that no water was discovered in the most recent study.

The ground-penetrating radar employed by Zhurong has two frequency ranges. The frequency employed for this study is only able to penetrate to a depth of about 15 feet (4.5 m) while still delivering fine detail. A greater understanding of Mars’ subsurface is possible because of the other radar frequency. This radar frequency operates to a depth of about 260 feet (80 meters).

The Zhurong rover’s exact fate is not yet known. As winter on Mars’ northern hemisphere approached in May 2022, the solar-powered rover went into hibernation. The rover was supposed to continue its independent operations in December. However Chinese space authorities have not responded to the appearance of silence from the rover. Recent images of Zhurong taken by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter from orbit reveal that the rover has so far not moved since the start of its hibernation phase. As the temperature and lighting conditions on Utopia Planitia get better, the rover might awaken.

Zhurong’s most recent discovery offers crucial insights into Mars’s subsurface and geological development. The surface of Mars has undergone a complex history. This history can shed light on the planet’s evolution and possibly even hint at the existence of life there. The rover is expected to awaken soon. Researchers believe that it will carry on exploring the Martian surface. This is in an effort to make even more exciting discoveries.

China’s Space Station Achievements Open Doors for Advanced Space Technology

New space technologies and human survival in space are being paved by China’s space station experiments. Many engineering experiments are now being carried out by the Space Basic Experiment Cabinet on China’s Mengtian space lab module. The knowledge gained from these tests will help promote additional experimental options and increase human survival in space.

The microbial resistance facility is housed in one of the drawers attached to the cabinet. Effective in-orbit management of microbes is essential for any long-term space stay. This is because they can have a major corrosive effect on the materials in constrained space modules. The microbial resistance experiment seeks to do PCR testing, quarantine, and subsequent disinfection after actively controlling microbial growth in microgravity. Aspergillus niger is the first microbe being studied. This is a form of mildew that has the potential to damage the copper and aluminum alloy. The box will serve as a crucial platform for biological safety for technological identification and scientific study in the space station.

A test for growing algae is also contained in the cabinet to see how well the water plant can produce oxygen and how to cook it locally. Microalgae are a major source of oxygen on Earth. They are thought to be extremely resistant to cosmic radiation as well as zero gravity. Future long-term human settlement and extended space travel may be made possible thanks to the results of this cabinet experiment. Both liquid and solid cultured algae will be grown. The liquid-supported algae will subsequently be baked in a “microwave oven.”

The experimental rack now hosts the pilot engine for the Stirling thermoelectric converter, which employs two pistons in a cylinder that move at high frequency to produce heat-to-electricity conversion. This can transform thermal energy into electricity with a reasonably high efficiency and power density. Chinese engineers are attempting to confirm its viability and stability in orbit, providing information for creating cutting-edge space power technology that can be applied to upcoming deep-space research.

Material scientists might learn how to use the liquid metal in space from an additional experiment in the cabinet. It will be determined how well the liquid metal performs in electromagnetic drive, sealing, quick melting, and inflation protection. Innovative and disruptive technologies may result from this. The alloyed metals, such as those based on gallium and bismuth, have several desired characteristics. It includes good conductivity, high boiling temperatures, and strong heat-transfer capabilities.

The fifth and final experiment will assess the risks posed by chippings generated by a system that relies on friction between electric brushes and slip rings. The purpose of the test is to capture images of their actual movements as a building block. This is meant for an improved gadget that can guarantee spacecraft operation for an extended period.

The Space Basic Experiment Cabinet aboard China’s space station is where these experiments are being carried out with the goal of enhancing human survival and developing space technology. Future long-term space presence and further experimental opportunities may be supported by the findings.