China’s Mars rover “Zhurong” begins exploration of the Red Planet

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China has recorded another success in its Mars mission: One week after the precise landing on the Red Planet, the remote-controlled Mars rover “Zhurong” left its landing pad on Saturday.
China has scored another success in its Mars mission: a week after its pinpoint landing on the Red Planet, the remote-controlled Mars rover “Zhurong” left its lander on Saturday to begin exploring the surface, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

The rover, which weighs about 240 kilograms and is powered by solar energy, derives its name from a fire god in Chinese mythology, and will spend about three months searching for traces of past life on the Red Planet. To do this, it will examine the atmosphere and soil of Mars, collect rock samples, take pictures and help map the surface.

The launch of the Mars probe “Tianwen-1” with the lander and rover last July and the successful landing last Saturday were two important milestones for China’s ambitious space program. Now the People’s Republic is the first country to achieve all three stages on its first Mars mission.

Apart from China, only the USA had previously managed not only to land on Mars, but also to deploy a vehicle there. The Nasa rover “Perseverance” with the ultra-light mini helicopter “Ingenuity” has been on the Red Planet since February. “Ingenuity” had completed its first historic flight on Mars in April.

Beijing has invested billions in recent years to catch up in space travel with the United States and Russia, which have been sending spacecraft and astronauts into space for decades.

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