China is preparing to launch two spacecraft for Jupiter and Uranus in the year 2030
China is preparing to launch two spacecraft for Jupiter and Uranus in 2030 as part of an ambitious two-for-one shot to the outer planets. For this expedition, a larger probe called Tianwen 4 will be dispatched to Jupiter; two smaller probes will be launched to pass by distant Uranus.
A Venus flyby and two Earth flybys will be utilized to direct the spacecraft toward the outer solar system before they separate and take the course for their own goals. Together, they will launch a Long March 5 rocket.
Despite earlier claims that China was in the planning stages for a Jupiter mission from Wang Qiong of the Lunar Exploration and Space Engineering Center under the China National Space Administration (CNSA), new information was made public on September 21 at the International Astronautical Congress 2022 in Paris. To conduct a thorough investigation of Callisto, the main spacecraft will initially be used to explore the Jupiter system before moving into orbit around it.
The smaller spacecraft, according to Wang, will go to Uranus for a longer period and weigh only a few hundred pounds. The presentation also suggests that an asteroid may be encountered by the spacecraft as it departs the solar system.
Wang told Space.com after the presentation that “the scientific aims are still under consideration.” According to earlier presentations, China was debating between focusing on Callisto as its primary target, which could reveal a lot about the moon and the history of the Jovian system, and investigating Jupiter’s erratic satellites, which could reveal information about the early history of the solar system.
Both options could reveal information about the moon and the history of the Jovian system.
Previously, the Callisto-focused mission profile contained a lander, but according to Wang, the most recent design called for an orbiter instead of a landing.
The mission is a part of China’s expanding “Tianwen” program, which derives its name from a poem called “Heavenly Questions” credited to the well-known Chinese poet Qu Yuan, who is believed to have lived some 2,300 years ago.
The Tianwen 1 orbiter and Zhurong rover were part of China’s first autonomous interplanetary mission in 2020, which was headed to Mars. The following Tianwen 2 mission will launch in 2025 to reach a main-belt comet after returning samples from the small near-Earth asteroid Kamo’oalewa.
The first samples ever returned from Mars to Earth will be delivered by the complex, dual-launch Tianwen 3 sample return mission. It might debut as soon as 2028. The projects, according to Wang, include plans to build an International Lunar Research Station in the 2030s’.