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TJU Team Recreates Martian Surface for Mars Exploration Experiment

 Research

On July 23, Tianwen-1, China’s first Mars probe was launched and embarked on its journey to Mars. Prof. Jiang Minjing from Tianjin University who led a team and participated in previous Mars exploration and landing experiment, watched the launching of the probe again and again, and sincerely hoped, “Go, Tianwen-1! Do have a safe landing”.

Professor Jiang’sPeiyang Energy and Environment Geo-Engineering teamundertookbuilding the Martial Probe Landing Groundin the country’s Mars exploration program.

“Our work was something like ‘recreating the surface of Mars and our team was nicknamed as ‘Mars Recreating Team’. The Martian gravity is about 1/3 of the Earth's. The simulation of Martian geomorphology is of great significance for the successful landing of the future probe considering the Martian gravity,” Prof. Jiang said.

He also introduced that the simulation landing area his team built mainly contained the basic site of surface imaging area, the basic working area, the surface characteristics of Mars, the test bed for landing and the simulated laser and microwave situations on Mars.

After two-year hard work, Professor Jiang’s team successfully recreated the Martian simulation surface for landing in Huailai County, Hebei Province. They simulated the visual environment of the Martian surface and the geomorphology close to the real surface of Mars that met the tester’s reflection requirements for visible light, radar and laser. A Mars-like exploration environment was also created for the Mars rover carried by the probe.

On November 14, 2019,an experiment simulating the process of a probe hovering, avoiding obstacles and descending to land on Marswas successfully carried out.

"The hovering and obstacle avoiding test is a crucial part of the Mars exploration mission. With the stable landing of the test Mars probe, we were then overwhelmingly excited since it marked the successful completion of the test. Since then, we have done research on simulating the soil bearing characteristics, digital simulation of the Martian surface, and some planetary exploration." Jiang recalled.

Professor Jiang and his team’s contributions to the Mars exploration and landing was fully recognized by the project supervisor and the team was awarded the Outstanding Unit for Building the Martial Probe Landing Ground.

"Our journey is the sea of stars. See you on Mars in seven months. Tianjin University's Mars recreating team will further contribute to Chinese deep-space exploration!" said Professor Jiang Mingjing.

By Wang Chen

Editor: Eva Yin