China is about to launch an asteroid sampling mission

China is about to launch an asteroid sampling mission

China plans to launch its second long-range space exploration vehicle in 2025, the Tianven-2 mission will target two completely different asteroids, the next step being to collect samples from Mars and deliver them to Earth.

A New Challenge for China

On July 28, 2020, China made history by sending its Tianven-1 mission from Wenchan base to Mars, the country's first national interplanetary mission and China's first landing on another planet.

Now it's time for the Tianven 2 mission. This mission, which will last for about ten years, will first target a small near-Earth asteroid. Some astronomers believe that this object could be an exploding piece of the moon.

The spacecraft will collect samples of the rock using tactical equipment similar to that shown by the Hayabusa-2 probes. Tianwen-2 will also attempt to apply an unprecedented method of securing using four robotic hands to land and secure on the surface.

Two years after the launch of Tianven II, it is expected that he will return to our planet to deliver his package, after which the probe will use Earth's gravitational help and head for another ancient solar system relic.

The probe is expected to arrive in the asteroid belt in seven years, and will then orbit and analyse the object using cameras and spectrometers, which can provide information on key issues such as the origin of water on Earth.

Launch in 2025

Zhang Junqiao, chief designer of the Tianwen-1 mission, informed China's Central Television on 13 May that the probe had entered the stage of technical development. ", he said. "We are moving as planned and are planning to launch it in 2025." The mission also received the provisional name "Jeng He" after a well-known Chinese marine researcher in the early 1400s.

Note that the Institute for Space Research of the Russian Academy of Sciences will also participate in the second phase of the mission, which was selected to provide particle detectors and solar wind.

In the longer term, the Tianwen-3 mission, scheduled for launch in 2028, should collect Martian samples and return them to Earth.