The name and logo collecting started on Aug. 23, 2016 and ended 80 days later. The websites of the China National Space Administration and China’s Lunar and Deep Space Exploration received and sorted out the names and logos coming from China as well as other countries and regions.
“We have collected over 35,000 names and over 7,000 logos for the project. Their design covers a wide area, including the humanistic spirit, the exploration spirit, and the culture of the Chinese nation,” said Liu Jizhong, deputy chief commander of China’s first Mars exploration project.
A judge Panel consisting of academicians in the field of China’s lunar and deep space exploration, space engineering experts and artists has chosen eight names and eight logos after preliminary assessments.
The eight names are Fenghuang (phoenix), Tianwen (study of heaven), Huoxing (Mars), Tenglong (flying dragon), Qilin (Kylin), Zhuque (a legendary bird), Zhuimeng (chasing dreams) and Fengxiang (flying phoenix ). They will be put on the Xinhuanet and QQ.com for online voting on Friday and the final result will be published around April 24, China’s Space Day.
China’s five tonne Mars spacecraft is due to launch on a Long March 5 rocket around August 2020, arriving at the Red Planet after seven months in deep space, and then separating to allow orbital insertion of the orbiter, and atmospheric entry of the rover and lander.
To be successful, China’s lander and rover components will need to enter the tenuous Mars atmosphere – around 0.6% of Earth’s mean sea level pressure – travelling at kilometres per second and needing to slow down rapidly.
And to this end, China recently tested an experimental supersonic, low density parachute, launching it into the upper layers of Earth’s atmosphere to substitute for Martian conditions.
China will employ two other techniques – retro-thrusters and a landing airbag – to ensure the payloads survive.
Helpfully, China has experience of landing on planetary bodies with the successful soft landing of the Chang’e-3 lander on the Moon in late 2013, which then deployed the Yutu (‘Jade Rabbit’) rover, and the same team are working to help overcome some of the Martian challenges.