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Tianwen-1 to arrive in Mars orbit February 10

The new colonial movement: China’s space agency, CNSA, today announced that its first Mars orbiter/lander/rover, Tianwen-1, will arrive in Mars orbit on February 10th, with the lander/rover dropping to the surface in May.

After entering orbit, Tianwen-1 will begin to prepare for a landing attempt of the mission’s rover. The orbiter will begin imaging the main candidate landing site within the huge impact basin Utopia Planitia, to the south of NASA’s Viking 2 landing site.

Getting ready for the attempt will take time however, with CNSA stating that the landing won’t take place until May.

At the moment they say that all systems are working as planned, and that they have one more course correction, the fourth, to do before entering orbit.

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


  • Ray Van Dune

    I’ll give them credit for a gutsy move, to try to enter The Hall of the Mountain King, the surface of Mars. Reigning King: USA.

    Ps. Yes, I know the story, but the soundscape is fun.

  • David Eastman

    Mars is a hard target, as evidenced by the many failures and the jokes about the “Martian anti-lander defenses.” If China succeeds on their first attempt, and with a pretty hefty rover at that, it will be an impressive feat. But they get the advantage of standing on the shoulders of all the attempts before.

  • Ray Van Dune wrote: “I’ll give them credit for a gutsy move, to try to enter The Hall of the Mountain King, the surface of Mars.”

    It is an audacious move, and from a species perspective, if not particularly a national one, a good thing. I do wish them every success.

    You got me thinking about the reigning planetary ‘champions’, as far as successful planetary missions, and I considered:

    Mercury: USA

    Venus: USSR (but really, Russia).

    Mars: USA

    Asteroids: Kind of want to give this to Japan.

    Jupiter: USA

    Saturn: USA

    Uranus: USA

    Neptune: USA

    Pluto: USA

    Comets: Europe, probably.

    Kuiper Belt: USA

    Interstellar space: USA

  • janyuary

    Toshiru Mifune and Lee Marvin in “Hell on the Pacific” come to mind.

    These are such early days in this outward expansion. It’s wide open. One thing is sure: the ones who get there first will be the ones who have the most to gain, be it the rewards of free enterprise or liberty.

    People held hostage by their government will copy the work of others for their government (China, etc.). That government may expand its territory, but human individuals are a different equation. History has examples of where superior technology has been taken down by men with inferior tools but better motivation and therefore better creativity and willingness to risk more to achieve victory.

  • Ray Van Dune

    AFAIK, all the heavy rover / landers have had to target low altitude sites on Mars, due to the very thin atmosphere not providing good braking for chutes, etc.. I wonder who will be the first to land at the top of Olympus Mons?!

    Elon: Hold my beer…

  • James Street

    Probably more under the category of “Capitalism in Space”…

    “The Economist Refers to Chinese Businessman Disappearance As “Regulation” and “Boosting Competition.”

    Alibaba founder Jack Ma’s absence from public view in the past two months….

    China’s highest-profile entrepreneur has not appeared in a public setting since a late October forum in Shanghai where he blasted China’s regulatory system in a speech that put him on a collision course with officials, resulting in the suspension of a $37 billion IPO of Alibaba’s Ant Group fintech arm.”

    “Ex-chairman of China Huarong Asset Management sentenced to death

    BEIJING (Reuters) -The former chairman of China Huarong Asset Management Co has been sentenced to death, a court in the northern city of Tianjin said on Tuesday, in one of the country’s highest profile corruption cases.

    Lai Xiaomin was convicted of receiving or seeking bribes totalling 1.788 billion yuan ($276.72 million) from 2008 to 2018….

    “Lai Xiaomin was lawless and extremely greedy,” the court statement said.”

  • Lee Stevenson

    If they nail it…… Yay!!! Another data point received from our neighbor
    Edward “they were lucky”
    If they fail.,….. Ooooo”
    Edward “They got lucky…….,………. Again”

  • When you steal technology from everyone doing hard things get a little easier.

  • Edward

    Lee Stevenson,
    I didn’t understand your question.

  • wayne

    (w/ ICBM launch animation)

  • pzatchok

    Ray Van Dune

    I like that
    “here hold my beer”

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