China plans to launch its Mars probe in July 2020, aiming to complete orbiting, landing and roving in one mission.
The first Mars exploration mission has been named Tianwen-1, announced the China National Space Administration (CNSA) on May 24, China's Space Day.
The name "Tianwen," based on a poem-Questions to Heaven, written by Qu Yuan (about 340-278 BC), one of the greatest poets of ancient China.
CNSA has announced that all of China's planetary exploration missions in the future will be named the Tianwen series, “signifying the Chinese nation's perseverance in pursuing truth and science and exploring nature and the universe,” according to a CNSA announcement.
The name was chosen from among 36000 entries following an international contest to choose the name for the first Chinese research mission to Mars.
CNSA also unveiled the logo of China's planetary exploration missions, featuring the letter C, signifying China, international cooperation and capacity of entering space.
The CNSA had successfully completed landing test of its Mars lander on November 14, 2019 in the northern Hebei. The hovering-and-obstacle avoidance test was conducted at a site littered with small rocks to simulate the uneven terrain on Mars.
The lander will be pushed to space from a powerful Long March Rocket, preparations for which is already underway.
China’s CCTV had earlier reported that the Mars probe will get caught in the gravitational pull of the planet to enter its orbit. The lander will then separate and descend using a parachute.