Aerodynamic design complete, Mars probe undergoes trials

Updated 2018-03-12 09:45:03

The Mars probe's aerodynamic design is complete and undergoing trials, according to China's major aerospace science and technology researcher and developer.

The country's first Mars probe is scheduled to be launched on a Long March 5 launch vehicle by 2020 from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in South China's Hainan Province.

The probe will hopefully orbit, land and deploy a rover on the Red Planet.

But landing on Mars poses serious aerodynamic challenges, said Zhou Weijiang, a researcher at the China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics, a subsidiary of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, Science and Technology Daily reported on Sunday.

In the primary phase, the design needs to elevate the probe sufficiently to prevent it from burning up in the high temperatures caused by air friction, said Zhou, also a member of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.[Special coverage]

The design must also prevent the probe from escaping its orbit or crashing by maintaining the correct flight attitude, Zhou said.

Weight is another issue. The Mars probe is relatively light, Zhou said, but " if we apply too little heat-resisting material, the probe will burn or if too much it will surpass the weight standard."

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