China launched a major Mars mission on Thursday in what it hopes will become its first successful landing on the Red Planet.
The mission, known as Tianwen -1 will see a rover, lander and orbiter launched aboard a Long March 5 rocket from the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center on Hainan Island on Thursday. It is China’s first solo mission to Mars after a previous attempt with Russia failed several years ago.
The state-owned China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation declared the launch a success and said the Tianwen-1 rover had been successfully transferred to the “predetermined orbit,” according to an official post on WeChat.
Meanwhile, the U.S. is gearing up for a launch of NASA’s Mars Perseverance Rover which is scheduled for July 30.
China’s Tianwen-1 will arrive at its destination seven months after launch. The orbiter will orbit Mars while the rover and lander will make a journey to the surface of the Red Planet.
Scientists from the world’s second-largest economy hope to map the geological structure of Mars, investigate the characteristics of its soil and water-ice distribution, study the surface material composition and more broadly understand the environment on the planet, according to the mission’s chief scientist.
The U.S. is the only other country that has landed and operated a rover on Mars, so if China’s mission is successful, it would be a big feat.
China has put a big emphasis on space over the last few years. President Xi Jinping urged the industry earlier this year to make China a “great space power as soon as possible,” according to state-backed China Daily.
But China has faced some setbacks in getting its Mars ambitions off the ground. In 2011, it attempted to launch an orbiter called Yinghuo-1 on a Russian spacecraft being launched by a Ukrainian rocket. But the launch ultimately failed.
And in 2017, the second launch of the Long March 5 rocket ended in failure.
But China has also seen some recent successes. It was the first nation to land a spacecraft on the so-called dark side of the moon. And earlier this year, China launched the final satellite to complete its global navigation system called Beidou.
China’s Mars mission comes after the UAE successfully launched its Mars probe, named Hope, earlier this month and as the U.S. gears up for its own mission to the Red Planet.
The flurry of Mars launches has to do with timing. Approximately every 26 months, the Mars and Earth are closer than usual, allowing for a launch.
The U.S. is slated to launch its Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover on July 30 with the aim of studying life on the planet. The rover will seek signs of habitable conditions on Mars in the ancient past but also indications of “past microbial life,” according to NASA.
Huawei to stop making flagship chipsets as U.S. pressure bites, Chinese media say
Huawei Technologies Co [HWT.UL] will stop making its flagship Kirin chipsets next month, financial magazine Caixin said on Saturday, as the impact of U.S. pressure on the Chinese tech giant grows.
U.S. pressure on Huawei’s suppliers has made it impossible for the company’s HiSilicon chip division to keep making the chipsets, key components for mobile phone, Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei’s Consumer Business Unit was quoted as saying at the launch of the company’s new Mate 40 handset.
With U.S.-China relations at their worst in decades, Washington is pressing governments around to world to squeeze Huawei out, arguing it would hand over data to the Chinese government for spying. Huawei denies it spies for China.
The United States is also seeking the extradition from Canada of Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, on charges of bank fraud.
In May the U.S. Commerce Department issued orders that required suppliers of software and manufacturing equipment to refrain from doing business with Huawei without first obtaining a license.
“From Sept. 15 onward, our flagship Kirin processors cannot be produced,” Yu said, according to Caixin. “Our AI-powered chips also cannot be processed. This is a huge loss for us.”
Huawei’s HiSilicon division relies on software from U.S. companies such as Cadence Design Systems Inc or Synopsys Inc to design its chips and it outsources the production to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC), which uses equipment from U.S. companies.
Huawei declined comment on the Caixin report. TSMC, Cadence and Synopsys did not immediately respond to email requests for comment.
HiSilicon produces a wide range of chips including its line of Kirin processors, which power only Huawei smartphones and are the only Chinese processors that can rival those from Qualcomm in quality.
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COVID19: TRUMP VIOLATES FACEBOOK POLICIES, POST REMOVED BY FACEBOOK
Facebook said Wednesday it had removed a post from the page of US President Donald Trump over what it called “harmful COVID misinformation.”
The post was a video clip from a Fox News interview in which Trump contended that children are “almost immune” from the deadly virus.
“This video includes false claims that a group of people is immune from COVID-19 which is a violation of our policies around harmful COVID misinformation,” a Facebook spokesperson told AFP.
TikTok might not be getting banned in the U.S. – but it could be bought instead.
Microsoft confirmed that it has held talks with Chinese company ByteDance to acquire its app TikTok in the U.S. Microsoft said it will keep working with the U.S. government on a deal and that it intends to conclude talks by September 15.
If it were to complete the deal, Microsoft could simultaneously resolve a recent controversy in Washington (President Trump days before said he planned to ban the app in the country over national security concerns) and gain power in consumer technology.
The two companies have looked at Microsoft buying TikTok in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and Microsoft might offer other American investors to get involved in the acquisition.
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