Chinese Scientists Develop Model Mars Atmosphere to Assist in Sample-Return Missions

Chinese scientists have developed a numerical model to imitate the Martian atmosphere, supporting the country’s goals to gather rock samples from the Red Planet.

The model mirrors the dust, water, and carbon dioxide cycles in Mars’ atmosphere, replicating meteorological conditions for landing spacecraft, such as surface temperature, wind, and dust. The findings were recently published in the journal Chinese Science Bulletin.

China aims to launch its Tianwen-3 Mars sample return mission between 2028 and 2030, with plans to collect Martian material using a drill and robotic arm. The new atmospheric model is vital for simulating temperatures in the landing zone, essential for designing Mars rovers.

The model – Global Open Planetary atmospheric model for Mars, or GoMars utilized data from China’s now-defunct Mars rover Zhurong, NASA’s Viking 1 and 2 landers, and the OpenMARS reanalysis dataset, a global record of Martian weather.

Related: Mars: Everything you need to know about the Red Planet

Lead researcher Wang Bin stated that the model can simulate landing zone temperatures, helping scientists design Mars rovers suitable for extreme cold. Wang Bin’s comments were reported by China’s state-run Xinhua news agency.

China’s Tianwen-3 mission is part of its extensive plans for space exploration, which includes a visit to a near-Earth asteroid and a main belt comet in Tianwen-2, and a future mission to Jupiter and Uranus in Tianwen-4.


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