At the moment, the laboratory for Popular Science and Planetrics at the university has 11 research projects on Mars, completed or under development, and will continue to be involved in exploration work related to the exploration of the planet, space and extraterrestrial life, university in a note sent to Agência Lusa.
The University of Science and Technology of Macau played an important role in the first Mars exploration mission in China, stressed the institution, on the day that Beijing successfully launched the Tianwen-1 probe (Questions for the Sky, in Chinese), launched by the Long March rocket-5, from the tropical island of Hainan, in the extreme south of the country.
The MUST Macau researchers participated deeply in the scientific research work of China's first Mars exploration mission and are responsible for the development, production, data processing and analysis of the Mars Orbiter Engineering Measurement Subsystem separable telemetry probe.
The State Reference Laboratory for Lunar Science and Planetrics at the university is China's first laboratory in the field of astronomy and planetary science, stressed MUST, with the university's laboratory director adding that there are currently 11 completed Mars research projects and in development.
The same institution said that the laboratory will continue to be involved in work on the internal structure of Mars, frozen water reserves, surface and space environment, as well as research on extraterrestrial life.
The university's researchers worked on the topography and geomorphology of Mars. And a series of investigations have been conducted on exploration, astrobiology, radiation, atmosphere and dust
, internal structure, magnetic field and space environment.
In particular, stressed MUST, research into the Martian atmosphere and the dust-ravaged climate of great importance to ensure the safe exploration of the Martian space vehicle.
MUST has, since the end of 2019, a Science and Space Exploration Center of the National Space Administration, under a scientific and technological development cooperation agreement signed in December 2019 between that Chinese entity and the Government of Macau.
A year earlier, the Ministry of Science and Technology had already approved the establishment of the State Laboratory for Lunar Sciences and Planetrias.
Mars Exploration Race
China launched its most ambitious mission to Mars on Thursday in an attempt to successfully land a probe on the red planet, achieved only by the United States to date.
This is the second flight to Mars made this week, after the orbital probe launched by the United Arab Emirates, from Japan, on Monday.
The United States plans to launch Perseverance (Perseverana, in English), its most sophisticated probe ever, from Florida next week.
The probes will take seven months to reach Mars. If all goes as planned, Tianwen-1 will look for water underground on Mars or for signs of possible ancient life on the planet.
This is not the first time that China has tried to go to Mars. In 2011, with the Russians, a probe ended up burning in the atmosphere. This time, China launched an orbital probe and an exploration probe in the same mission.
China's space program has developed rapidly over the past few decades. In 2003, Yang Liwei became the first Chinese astronaut and, last year, Change-4 was the first spacecraft to land on the side of the moon that is not visible from Earth.
Landing on Mars is particularly difficult. Only the US has successfully landed a spacecraft on Martian soil, a feat that has been achieved eight times since 1976. NASA's InSight and Curiosity space vehicles continue to operate today.
Six other spaceships are exploring Mars from the orbit of the planet: three North American, two European and one from India.
If all goes well, the Chinese solar-powered probe, the size of a 240-kilogram golf cart, will operate for about three months.
The path from China to Mars encountered some obstacles: the launch of the Long March 5 rocket, scheduled for the beginning of this year, ended up failing. And the new coronavirus pandemic has also forced scientists to work from home.
While China is joining the United States, Russia and Europe in creating a global satellite navigation system, experts say the country is not trying to overcome US leadership in space exploration, but rather in a slow race with Japan. and India to establish itself as a space power in Asia.