China’s 70-meter-wide steerable reflector antenna has completed its operational checks and is ready to receive signals from the country’s Tianwen-1 mission, which is expected to enter the orbit of Mars next week.

The construction of the massive radio telescope to service the maiden voyage of China’s mission to Mars began in 2018 in the country’s northern region of Tianjin. It was finished just in time for the spacecraft’s approach to the Red Planet.

The new dish antenna, which was put in service on Thursday, is composed of 1,328 high-precision panels covering an area equal to ten basketball courts, according to local media reports.

Its dish has a diameter of 70 meters – unparalleled in Asia – though it’s still 30 meters smaller than the world’s largest steerable antenna at the Green Bank Radio Telescope in the American state of West Virginia.

China had been using three antennas with diameters of 35 to 50 meters in Beijing and Kunming. But they weren’t strong enough to assure quality reception of data from Mars, currently more than 180 million kilometers away from Earth.

Also on rt.com

© Reuters / Carlos Garcia Rawlins
WATCH: China launches its 1st Mars orbiter, lander & rover, expected to reach the planet next February

The Martian orbit takes it as far as 400 million kilometers away from Earth when the two planets swing to opposite sides of the sun from each other. Crucially for the project, China can now link all four of the country’s telescopes to maximise their capabilities.

Tianwen-1, which was launched in July 2020, is scheduled to reach the gravitation field of Mars and perform breaking maneuvers on February 10, one day before the eve of the Chinese New Year.

The ambitious project by the China National Space Administration (CNSA) aims to deploy a Mars orbiter and rover on its surface. If the landing of the vehicle is a success, China will become the second country to successfully operate a rover on Mars after the US.

Also on rt.com

Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona; SETI Institute https://phys.org/news/2021-02-martian-landslides-underground-salts-ice.html; and  https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/7/6/eabe4459
Scientists suspect Martian surface may be riddled with GIANT sinkholes caused by widespread underground ice

The Chinese scientists plan to use the Tianwen-1 mission to search for evidence of past and current life on the planet, explore its soil and atmosphere, characterize water distribution and draw maps of the Martian surface, among other things.

Like this story? Share it with a friend!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Translate »
Legal Notice: Views expressed in articles published in www.ebusinessbrief.com are those of the authors and www.ebusinessbrief.com or its owners take no responsibility regarding the same. Advertisements in www.ebusinessbrief.com are published for information of the subscribers. www.ebusinessbrief.com does not authenticate, endorse or guarantee any of the products or services or claims made by the Advertisers. Readers are advised to themselves verify the details. No part of this publication may be reproduced by any means without prior written permission from the Editor. Permission is normally granted wherever sufficient acknowledgement is given to www.ebusinessbrief.com.