China successfully lands its rover “Zhurong” on Mars

RNS: China successfully landed a spacecraft— Tianwen-1 on Mars carrying a lander and rover named Zhurong on Saturday. Now China becomes the third country after Soviet Union and the United States, which carried out a successful landing on Mars.

On 23 July 2020, China had launched its first Mars mission, called Tianwen-1, carrying a lander and rover, which was in orbit since February 2021, and on Saturday (15 May 2021), a lander carrying a rover Zhurong landed successfully on the surface of the red planet, it said.

According to the China Central Television (CCTV) report, lander touched down on Utopia Planitia, a large plain in the northern hemisphere of Mars on Saturday at around 7 am.

The China National Space Administration (CNSA) said in a statement that its rover has successfully landed on Mars on Saturday after “nine minutes of terror”.

“The rover will deliver “early materials to research on the planet’s space environment, surface topography and soil structure of the planet,” the CNSA said.

The six-wheel solar-powered Zhurong rover weighs about 240 kilograms and carries six scientific instruments. It will be later deployed from the lander for a three-month mission searching for life on Mars’ surface.

But it could survive for years, as NASA’s Spirit and Opportunity rovers did, it reported.

Earlier in 2011, China, in association with Russia, tried to launch a Mars orbiter bit it failed to enter into orbit.

President Xi Jinping on Saturday describe the Mars landing as “an important step in China’s interstellar exploration” and said it had “left a Chinese mark on Mars for the first time” and was “another landmark progress in China’s space industry development”. Expressing happiness, President said, “Mars landing is big step in China’s interstellar exploration.”

“This left a Chinese mark on Mars for the first time” and it was “another landmark progress in China’s space industry development,” he added.

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