China’s Zhurong rover lands on Mars
As per the state media, China has successfully landed a spacecraft on Mars. The rover, named Zhurong, is the part of China’s Tianwen-1 mission that was launched in July 2020. After this incident, China has become the second country to land a rover on Mars.
The Zhurong rover landed in a region known as Utopia Planitia. This is the same region where NASA’s now-defunct Viking 2 lander touched down in 1976. The rover did three months of preparations in orbit and then took 9 minutes to land after entry into the Martian atmosphere.
The Chinese rover is a six-wheeled solar-powered robot and weighs roughly 240kg. It will collect and analyze rock samples from Mars’ surface on its mission. It will send data on water-ice deposits, geology, weather, and topography for further research.
The US was the first country to land on Mars and it has had 9 successful landings since 1976. The Soviet Union also landed on Mars in 1971 but the mission failed after its rover stopped transmitting information soon after the touchdown. Now China has reached the planet.
This is a big milestone for China’s space program. The country previously landed on the near and far sides of the moon in 2013 and 2019 respectively.