China's Space Program News Thread


Temstar

Major
Registered Member
It would be interesting to see the currently planned mission profile of Chinese Mars sample return mission. The previous tentative mission profile China published involved the use of a single huge (mass at earth departure = 30+ tons) and extremely complex probe that requires the use of the planned long match 9 rocket to lunch. If that mission profile is still current, then it means LM-9 has to be in service by that time.
A two launch mission is very much being considered for Mars sample return:
火星采样返回.jpg
This one here for example calls for LM-3B to launch the lander and ascent vehicle while LM-5 launches the orbiter and return vehicle.
 

Richard Santos

Captain
Registered Member
scoop up mars soil just like Chang'e 5 moon mission


But that depends on the lander happen to land at the right place, and affords no potential to look around and find something interesting and likely to be informative to collect. After all the effort to get the sample collecting probe there and back, you want to maximize the value for being able to pick and choose what you want to take back.
 

Quickie

Major
So there is no rover to gather sample?

It's a bummer if that's really the case but it's also possible the samples have already been collected beforehand by a rover although not shown.

A robotic rover would literally be able to collect the strangest artifacts that could be found on the Martian terrain.

Who knows what sort of amazing discovery of the century a successful return of the Martian artifacts may bring? It could turn out that the strange-looking rocks are just that. The big price is if it is not and really something else like a fossil of something or some other kind of new discovery.
 

taxiya

Brigadier
Registered Member
It would be interesting to see the currently planned mission profile of Chinese Mars sample return mission. The previous tentative mission profile China published involved the use of a single huge (mass at earth departure = 30+ tons) and extremely complex probe that requires the use of the planned long match 9 rocket to lunch. If that mission profile is still current, then it means LM-9 has to be in service by that time.
I think you misunderstood that. The 2018 paper "火星采样返回任务轨道方案初步设计" published in 2019 considered both single and twin launches without preference to the single launch. In publicly shown PPTs, it was always the two launch option. So I'd say that the intended profile is always two launches, with the single launch option being considered, but not bet on.

The single launch profile required a mars transfer orbit (MTO) capability of 12 to 16 tonnes which is much lower than CZ-9's MTO somewhere around 30t considering its LTO is greater than 50t.

The only thing in that paper that may be interpreted to imply CZ-9 is the usage of the word "重型" (Heavy Lift). In Chinese definition that can only be CZ-9. However, the capability does not match. So it is possible that the author used the word in a not strict sense but an American definition. This "confusing" practice is not uncommon in recent years, for example lots of younger Chinese authors in their science paper use the word "透平" (Transliteration of Turbine) instead of decades old translation of "涡轮", another example is the word robust being transliterated to "鲁棒" (what hell is that) instead of existing word "可靠性".
 

Richard Santos

Captain
Registered Member
The NASA’s current Perseverance rover has a collection of stainless sealed sample containers. If it finds something interesting, it would put a sample in a sample container, seal it and leave the container on mars’s surface. The idea is a future sample return mission will contain a small rover whose sole mission is trace perseverance’s track and pick up all the sample containers, bring it back to the ascent stage for sample return to earth.

I suspect the Chinese built at least one backup rover for Zhurong. Maybe it can be modified and sent to Mars to collect samples before a sample return mission.

Another off the wall idea, work out a deal with NASA so the Chinese sample return mission will go collect all the sample containers Perseverance left behind. China can save the cost of building anything that will actually look for suitable samples to return, and NASA can save the cost of actually getting the samples back.

After a period of high tension in the next 3-4 years, that might just be the thing to break the ice between the US and China, sort of like Apollo Soyuz mission of 1974.
 

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