China’s Zhurong rover successfully landed on Mars
Published: 01:26 PM, 15 May 2021 Updated: 01:27 PM, 15 May 2021
Artwork of the Zhurong robot; Photo: Collected
China has successfully landed its spacecraft ‘Zhurong’ on Mars, state media reported on Saturday, a triumph for Beijing’s increasingly bold space ambitions and a history-making feat for a nation on its first-ever Martian mission.
The six-wheeled Zhurong rover was targeting Utopia Planitia, vast terrain in the planet’s northern martian atmosphere, also known as “seven minutes of terror”, reports BBC, AFP.
According to BBC, The rover, solar-powered and roughly 240 kilograms, used a combination of a protective capsule, a parachute and a rocket platform to make the descent.
“The mission successfully landed in the pre-selected area”, state broadcaster CCTV said, while the official Xinhua news agency cited the China National Space Administration (CNSA) in confirming the touchdown.
It makes China the first country to carry out an orbiting, landing and roving operation during its first mission to Mars — a feat unmatched by the only other two nations to reach the Red Planet, the US and Russia.
Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jinping congratulated the team’s ”outstanding achievement” in a special message. “You were brave enough for the challenge, pursued excellence and placed our country in the advanced ranks of planetary exploration,” he said.
The Chinese rover officially landed at 7:18 am on Saturday, Beijing time, according to state media. It took 17 minutes to unfold its solar panels and send a signal back to Earth.
Zhurong, named after a Chinese mythical fire god, arrives a few months behind America’s latest probe to Mars — Perseverance — as the show of technological might between the two superpowers plays out beyond the bounds of Earth.
It is expected to spend around three months there.
It is to be mentioned that China successfully launched the first module of its new space station last month with hopes of having it crewed by 2022 and eventually sending humans to the Moon.
Source: AFP, BBC