Many countries have aspired to land on Mars and discover something unique. Since NASA's Perseverance and China's Zhurong's Mars landing, everyone has been wondering if this will end up in a space war.
The Perseverance Rover landed on Mars on February 18, in Jezero Crater on the western side of Isidis Planitia. On May 15, China's Zhurong rover successfully touched down on the surface of Mars on Utopia Planitia, making it only the third country in history to accomplish this goal.
The ultimate goal
The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has been orbiting Mars since 2006, investigating its geology and environment, besides looking for indications of water ice, and exploring possible landing locations for future mission.
Both rovers have arrived on Mars to explore The Red Planet's geology. In this extraterrestrial world, Zhurong will look for evidence of water ice on the ground. Perseverance is designed to conduct an exploration of the Martian surface in search of evidence of past and contemporary life on the planet and will also test the future Mars missions' ability to produce oxygen from CO2.
Perseverance is NASA's largest and most complex rover yet. Its primary payload consists of nineteen cameras, seven instruments and two microphones. It has a similar design to Curiosity, its previous rover, from which it received minor upgrades.
Zhurong is the first Mars rover to include a magnetometer. Two cameras on a mast capture photos of surrounding rocks while the rover is immobile. Multispectral imaging between the two navigation imagers reveals the minerals in these rocks. It has a GPS.
Recent updates and next step
At Citadelle, the Perseverance rover crew discovered a very inviting target – a rock called "Rochette." Perseverance will tear the granite over the next few days. On September 4, NASA's Ingenuity Mars Helicopter captured an image of the geologic target, which the Mars rover team has dubbed "Faillefeu." This photograph was taken on the 13th flight of the aircraft.
The sample collected by the rover Perseverance will be returned to Earth via a combined NASA-European Space Agency effort, perhaps as early as 2031. They will then be meticulously studied by experts from across the world for evidence of previous Mars life and hints about the planet's geology and climatic history, among other things.
Due to interference from the sun's charged particles, the Zhurong rover and Tianwen-1 will be in safe mode from September to October.
"By giving our scientists these data, we can hopefully learn more about Mars' geology and possibly locate evidence of an ancient ocean in Utopia Planitia", says Liu Jianjun, The lead designer of Tianwen - 1 Ground application system.
Will there be a war?
Numerous other spacecraft is now orbiting Mars, notably the UAE 'Hope Orbiter', which arrived in February. "The more the better," says David Flannery, an astrobiologist from Australia's Queensland University of Technology.
According to John Logsdon, a professor at George Washington University's Elliot School of International Affair's, "I believe we'll see a mix of collaboration and competition, most likely between two blocs led by the US and China and this is not always a terrible thing."
On the other hand, Bill Nelson, the new NASA administrator believes that NASA is already engaged in a space competition with China and that the US must be "wary".