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Tianwen 1



Tianwen 1 (formerly Huoxing 1) is a Chinese Mars mission comprising a lander/rover and orbiter that launched from Wenchang launch complex on a Long March 5 Y-4 booster on 23 July 2020 at 04:41 UT. The scientific objectives of the mission are to study martian topography and geology, characterize the soil and its water-ice content, determine the composition of the surface material, profile the martian ionosphere, climate, and environment, and constrain the gravity and magnetic fields and the interior structure.

The mission will make a 7 month trip to Mars, arriving and going into polar orbit in February 2021. The orbiter will use high-resolution cameras to search for the nominal landing site for the lander and rover. They will separate from the orbiter and make a landing somewhere in the Utopia Planitia region roughly two to three months after orbit insertion. The orbiter will then go into a 265 x 12,000 km altitude polar orbit, from which it will make scientific measurements and act as a relay for the rover communications with Earth. The rover is scheduled to operate on the surface for about 3 months.

The rover has a mass of about 240 kg and carries camearas, subsurface radar, laser-induced breakdown spectrometer, magnetometer, and atmospheric sensors. The orbiter carries cameras, subsurface radar, mineralogy spectrometer, magnetometer, and particle analyzers. The lander is primarily a landing platform for the rover.

The name Tianwen means "Questions to Heaven" the name of a poem by Qu Yuan. Huoxing is based on the Chinese word for "Mars".

Alternate Names

  • Huoxing 1
  • Huoxing1
  • China Mars 2020
  • HX-1
  • 45935

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 2020-07-23
Launch Vehicle: Long March 5
Launch Site: Wenchang, Peoples Republic of China

Funding Agency

  • China National Space Administration (Peoples Republic of China)


  • Planetary Science

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this spacecraft can be directed to: Dr. David R. Williams



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