Rover leaves ‘China’s imprint’ on Mars

Rover leaves ‘China’s imprint’ on Mars

Malay Mail - Malaysia·2021-06-14 10:00

The lander of the Tianwen-1 mission, captured on the surface of Mars by Chinese rover Zhurong, is seen in this image released by China National Space Administration (CNSA) June 11, 2021. CNSA handout via ReutersBEIJING, June 14 Solar panel wings spread out and two camera eyes pointing ahead, Chinas Mars rover Zhurong struck a birdlike pose as it explored the red planet in photos released by the countrys space agency Friday.Zhurongs touchdown in May was the first ever successful probe landing by any country on its first Mars mission a milestone in Chinas ascent to space superpower status.The rover, named after a mythical Chinese fire god, has since been studying the topography of a vast Martian lava plain known as the Utopia Planitia.Photos published by the China National Space Administration showed tracks in the red soil left by Zhurong, which the agency described as Chinas imprint, after it drove onto the planets surface form a landing platform adorned with a large Chinese flag. The six-wheeled, solar-powered, 240-kilogramme Zhurong is expected to spend three months taking photos, harvesting geographical data, and collecting rock samples.The space agency said on Friday that the Mars missions engineering tasks were carried out smoothly as planned, and that the equipment was currently in good condition.China has now sent astronauts into space, powered probes to the Moon and landed a rover on Mars one of the most prestigious of all prizes in the competition for dominion of space.The United States and Russia are the only other countries to have reached Mars, and only the former has operated a rover on the surface.Several US, Russian and European attempts to land rovers on Mars have failed in the past, most recently in 2016 with the crash-landing of the Schiaparelli joint Russian-European spacecraft.The latest successful arrival came in February, when US space agency Nasa landed its rover Perseverance, which has since been exploring the planet. AFP

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