"A mission like this demonstrates China has the capability to explore the entire solar system," said a Chinese space program official.
Just several months after the United States sent the Perseverance Rover to Mars, China has announced that their own rover has also made its descent on the Red Planet.
Named after ancient Chinese mythology’s god of fire, Zhurong reportedly landed in Mars’ Utopia Planitia last March 14, Friday. This officially makes China as history’s second country to land a rover on the planet.
National Space Science Center director Chi Wang said:
“This is really a milestone for the Chinese space program. It signifies Chinese space exploration steps out of the Earth-Moon system and heads for the [Mars] planetary system. A mission like this demonstrates China has the capability to explore the entire solar system.”
According to reports, the Zhurong is equipped with six wheels and weighs around 240 kilograms. The solar-powered rover also has six scientific instruments that will aid in its mission of searching for signs of life on the surface of Mars.
Meanwhile, the Tianwen-1 which consists of an orbiter, a lander, and a rover has been launched from Hainan’s Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site last July 23, 2020 as the initial step in the Mars mission.
Tianwen’s name translates to ‘Heavenly Questions’ or ‘Questions to Heaven,’ which was taken from a poem by ancient poet Qu Yuan. It officially entered Mars’ orbit in February after seven months.
Last May 9, The Chinese space program faced public criticism after debris of its out-of-control rocket crashed into the Indian Ocean.
Meanwhile, you can also check out this report comparing China’s Zhurong Rover with NASA’s Perseverance:
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