China has launched its first rover mission to Mars.

中国已经开始了首次对火星的探险任务。

The six-wheeled robot, encapsulated in a protective probe, was lifted off Earth by a Long March 5 rocket from the Wenchang spaceport on Hainan Island at 12:40 local time (04:40 GMT).

封装在保护器中的火星探测器于北京时间12:40(标准时间4:40)在海南文昌卫星发射中心被长征5号运载火箭发射升空,离开地球。

It should arrive in orbit around the Red Planet in February.

它应该在明年2月份进入火星循环轨道。

Called Tianwen-1, or "Questions to Heaven", the rover won't actually try to land on the surface for a further two to three months.

名为“天问一号”,即“对天空发问”的火星探测器,实际上并不会再试图停留两到三个月。

This wait-and-see strategy was used successfully by the American Viking landers in the 1970s. It will allow engineers to assess the atmospheric conditions on Mars before attempting what will be a hazardous descent.

这种观望策略在1970年代被美国“维京号”计划中被成功使用。它能使工程师在试图进行危险降落行动前评估火星上的大气条件。

Tianwen-1 is one of three missions setting off to Mars in the space of 11 days.

“天问一号”是11天内出发前往火星的三个探测任务之一。

On Monday, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) launched its Hope satellite towards the Red Planet. And in a week from now, the US space agency (Nasa) aims to despatch its next-generation rover, Perseverance.

在周一,阿拉伯联合酋长国(UAE)向火星发射了“希望号”卫星。从现在开始的一周内,美国航天局(NASA)将计划发射其下一代火星车“毅力号”。

Tianwen-1's Long March rocket made a picture perfect getaway in brilliant sunshine.

天问一号的长征火箭在灿烂的阳光下拍摄出了完美的轨迹。


"According to the aerospace control centre, the Long March 5 Y-4 rocket is in normal flight, and the probe to Mars has accurately entered the preset orbit. I now declare the launch of China's first Mars exploration mission a complete success," he said.

“根据根据航空航天控制中心的数据,长征5号遥4火箭正在正常飞行,对火星的探测已准确进入预设轨道。我现在宣布发射中国首个火星探测任务取得了圆满成功。”他说道。


The targeted touchdown location for the Chinese mission will be a flat plain within the Utopia impact basin just north of Mars' equator. The rover will study the region's geology - at, and just below, the surface.

中国探测器的目标着陆位置是火星赤道以北的乌托邦冲击盆地内的平原。探测器将研究当地地表以及地表以下的地质情况。

Tianwen-1 looks a lot like Nasa's Spirit and Opportunity rovers from the 2000s. It weighs some 240kg and is powered by fold-out solar panels.

天问一号看起来很像美国航天局(NASA)在2000年代的勇气号和机遇号探测器。它重约240千克,由折叠太阳能电池板进行供电。

A tall mast carries cameras to take pictures and aid navigation; five additional instruments will help assess the mineralogy of local rocks and look for any water-ice.

它高大的桅杆上装有相机进行拍照和辅助导航,还有另外五种仪器将有助于评估当地岩石的矿物学并寻找任何形态的水。




China, however, can take confidence from the successes of its two recent Chang'e Yutu lunar rovers, the second of which made the first ever soft landing on the far side of the Moon last year.

然而,中国可以从最近两次嫦娥月兔月球探测车的成功中取得信心,其中第二次是在去年人类首次于月球背面进行软着陆。

The country's engineers will believe they are now ready to tackle the infamous "seven minutes of terror" - the time it takes for a spacecraft to make the perilous trip from the top of Mars'' atmosphere to the ground.

该国的工程师们相信,他们现在已经准备好应对臭名昭著的“七分钟恐怖事件”-这是一架航天器从火星大气层到达地面的危险旅程所花费的时间。

"Entering, deceleration and landing (EDL) is a very difficult (process). We believe China's EDL process can still be successful, and the spacecraft can land safely," mission spokesperson Liu Tongjie was quoted as saying ahead of launch by the Reuters news agency.

“进入,减速和着陆(EDL)是一个非常困难的过程。但我们相信中国的EDL过程仍然可以成功,航天器可以安全着陆。”这是路透社引用飞行任务发言人刘同杰的话。

Tianwen-1 will use a combination of a capsule, parachute and a retro-rocket to burn off entry speed and slow itself to a stop right at the surface. If all goes well, the landing mechanism will then deploy a ramp to enable the rover to begin its traverse across the Martian plain.

天问一号将结合使用太空舱,降落伞和逆向火箭,以降低进入速度并使其自身减速直到停在地表。如果一切顺利,则着陆器将部署坡道,以使探测车能够开始穿越火星平原。


Dr Rain Irshad is autonomous systems leader at RAL Space in the UK and is involved in Nasa's Insight lander on Mars.

Rain Irshad博士是英国RAL Space的航天系统负责人,并参与研发了美国NASA在火星上的洞察号探测器。

"It's incredibly exciting to see what China is doing," she commented.

她评论说:“看到现在中国所做的事,真是令人兴奋。”

"Their space agency was only formed in 1993, and yet here they are, less than 30 years later, sending an orbiter, a lander and a rover to Mars.

“他们的航天局成立于1993年,但不到30年后,他们就向火星派出了轨道器,着陆器和探测车。”

"But they put themselves through a training programme with their Chang'e missions at the Moon. It's been very impressive the way they've been banging out the lunar missions one after the other," she told BBC News.

她对BBC新闻说:“他们在月球的嫦娥任务中让自己经历了训练。这令人印象深刻,他们一次又一次地完成登月任务。”