Mars Global Remote Sensing Orbiter and Small Rover

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Mars Global Remote Sensing Orbiter and Small Rover
Mars Global Remote Sensing Orbiter and Small Rover at IAC Bremen 2018 02.jpg
Mockup of the rover at the 69th International Astronautical Congress
NamesHX-1 [1][2]
Mission typePlanetary science with an orbiter and rover
Mission durationOrbiter: ≥ 1 Earth year
Rover: 90 sols[3]
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft typeOrbiter, Rover
Launch massTotal: 5,000 kg
Orbiter: 3,175 kg
Rover:240 kg
DimensionsRover: 2.0 m × 1.65 m × 0.8 m
Start of mission
Launch dateJuly 23 to August 5, 2020[4][3][5]
RocketLong March 5
Launch siteWenchang Spacecraft Launch Site LC101
ContractorChina Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation
Mars orbiter
Spacecraft componentOrbiter
Orbital insertion2021 February 11 to February 24 [5]
Mars rover
Spacecraft componentRover
Landing date2021 April 23[5](proposed)
Landing siteTBD

The Mars Global Remote Sensing Orbiter and Small Rover (HX-1) is a planned project by China to deploy an orbiter and rover on Mars.[6] The mission is planned to be launched in July or August 2020[4][7] with a Long March 5 heavy lift rocket.[8][9][10] Its stated objectives are to search for evidence of both current and past life, and to assess the planet's environment.[3][11]


China's Mars program started in 2009 in a partnership with Russia. However, the Russian spacecraft Fobos-Grunt carrying a Chinese orbiter Yinghuo-1 crashed on 15 January 2012, days after lift-off. After that, China started its own Mars project.[12]

The spacecraft is being developed by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), and managed by the National Space Science Centre (NSSC) in Beijing.[8] The lander carrying the rover will use a parachute, retrorockets, and an airbag to achieve landing.[13]

The rover will be powered by solar panels, probe the ground with radar, perform chemical analyses on the soil, and look for biomolecules and biosignatures.[3]

The priorities of the mission include finding both current and previous life, and evaluating the planet's surface and environment. Solo and joint explorations of the Mars orbiter and rover will produce maps of the Martian surface topography, soil characteristics, material composition, water ice, atmosphere, ionosphere field, and other scientific data will be collected.[14] Simulated landings have been performed for the mission preparations by the Beijing Institute of Space Mechanics and Electricity.[6]

This Mars mission would be a demonstration of technology needed for a Mars sample return mission proposed for the 2030s.[8] Another plan involves the 2020 HX-1 mission to cache samples for retrieval in 2030.[15]

Scientific instruments[edit]

The orbiter and rover will carry a total of 12 instruments:[8]

  • Medium Resolution Camera (MRC) with a resolution of 100 m from a 400 km orbit[6]
  • High Resolution Camera (HRC) with a resolution of 2 m from a 400 km orbit[6]
  • Mars Magnetometer (MM)
  • Mars Mineral Spectrometer (MMS), to determine elementary composition
  • Orbiter Subsurface Radar (OSR)
  • Mars Ion and Neutral Particle Analyzer (MINPA)[5]
  • Ground-Penetrating Radar (GPR), to image about 100 m (330 ft) below the Martian surface[11]
  • Mars Surface Magnetic Field Detector (MSMFD)
  • Mars Meteorological Measurement Instrument (MMMI)
  • Mars Surface Compound Detector (MSCD)
  • Multi-Spectrum Camera (MSC)
  • Navigation and Topography Camera (NTC)[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Global Exploration Roadmap. NASA. International Space Exploration Coordination Group. January 2018.
  2. ^ China's Deep Space Exploration Roadmap. 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d "China Exclusive: China's aim to explore Mars". Xinhua News. 21 March 2016. Retrieved 2016-03-24.
  4. ^ a b "China shows first images of Mars rover, aims for 2020 mission". Reuters. Retrieved 24 August 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d e
  6. ^ a b c d Jones, Andrew (9 February 2018). "China simulates Mars landing in preparation for 2020 mission". GBTimes. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  7. ^ "Interview with Zhang Rongqiao, the man behind China's mission to Mars". Youtube. Retrieved 24 August 2016. China Central Television
  8. ^ a b c d Jones, Andrew (22 February 2016). "China is racing to make the 2020 launch window to Mars". GBTimes. Retrieved 2016-02-22.
  9. ^ Berger, Eric (22 February 2016). "China pressing ahead with orbiter and lander mission to Mars". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2016-02-23.
  10. ^ Lu, Shen (4 November 2016). "China says it plans to land rover on Mars in 2020". CNN News. Retrieved 2016-02-23.
  11. ^ a b The subsurface penetrating radar on the rover of China's Mars 2020 mission. B. Zhou, S. X. Shen, Y. C. Ji, etal. 2016 16th International Conference on Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR). 13–16 June 2016.
  12. ^ Nan, Wu (24 June 2014). "Next stop - Mars: China aims to send rover to Red Planet within six years". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 2016-02-23.
  13. ^ Jones, Andrew (21 March 2016). "China reveals more details of its 2020 Mars mission". GB Times. Retrieved 2016-03-22.
  14. ^ Zhou; et al. (13–16 June 2016). "The subsurface penetrating radar on the rover of China's Mars 2020 mission". IEEE Xplore.
  15. ^ China Plans To Land A Rover On Mars In 2020. Alexandra Lozovschi, Inquisitr. January 17, 2019.