Concept illustration released on Aug 23, 2016 by the lunar probe and space project center of Chinese State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence shows the concept portraying what the Mars rover and lander would look like. China's planetary exploration program has been named Tianwen, or Quest for Heavenly Truth, the China National Space Administration announced on Friday.
Mars is the latest arena in US-China rivalry
03:22 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

After traveling through space for seven months, China’s Tianwen-1 probe has reached Mars and successfully entered the planet’s orbit on Wednesday – bringing it one step closer to landing on the surface.

Tianwen-1, whose name means “quest for heavenly truth,” is made up of an orbiter, lander and a six-wheeled rover carrying scientific instruments, according to the China National Space Administration (CNSA.)

The CNSA said it will gather important information about Mars’ geological structure, atmosphere, environment and soil, and search for any signs of water. The spacecraft is expected to land on the planet’s surface in May or June.

The Tianwen-1 makes China the sixth country in history to reach Mars.

Employees at the Beijing Aerospace Control Center BACC in Beijing, China, on October 9, 2020, after the Tianwen-1 probe successfully conducted a deep-space maneuver.