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World Chinese rover takes first drive on Mars

16:30  22 may  2021
16:30  22 may  2021 Source:   bbc.com

the Chinese rover "Zhurong" should land on Mars tonight

 the Chinese rover © AFP Photo / China National Space Administration This photo undated, published on March 3, 2021 by the Chinese National Space Agency (CNSA), shows an image of Mars captured by the Chinese Tianwen-1 probe. China is preparing to attempt the landing at the surface of March of its small remote robot "Zhurong". A particularly delicate operation that testifies to the more and more bold spatial ambitions of Beijing. The spatial conquest continues.

China's remote-controlled rover, which landed on Mars a week ago, has driven down from its landing capsule to the surface of the planet.

The Zhurong rover drove down the ramp of the lander on to the surface of Mars © Reuters The Zhurong rover drove down the ramp of the lander on to the surface of Mars

This makes China the second country after the US to operate a rover there.

The Zhurong rover is due to study the planet's surface soil and atmosphere. It will also look for signs of life, including any subsurface water or ice.

China's Tianwen-1 mission, consisting of an orbiter, lander and rover, was launched in July last year.

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The deputy chief commander of the mission, Zhang Yuhua, said the rover was designed to operate for 92 Earth days (or 90 Mars days, known as "sols" which are slightly longer than Earth days) and would share its data via the orbiter.

China is set to land its Zhurong rover on Mars

  China is set to land its Zhurong rover on Mars The six-wheeled robot is ready to make the hazardous descent to the surface of the Red Planet.The six-wheeled Zhurong robot will target Utopia Planitia, a vast terrain in the planet's northern hemisphere.

"We hope we can get a comprehensive covering of Martian topography, landform and environment, and the exploratory data of the radar detecting the Martian subsurface during one Martian year," she said.

"By doing so, our country will have our own abundant and first-hand data about Martian resources."

This model shows how Zhurong descended from its landing platform © Getty Images This model shows how Zhurong descended from its landing platform

The solar-powered, 240kg (530lb) six-wheeled robot - named after a Chinese mythical fire god - will explore Utopia Planitia, a vast terrain in the planet's northern hemisphere.

Utopia Planitia is a colossal basin - more than 3,000km (1,860 miles) wide - that was formed by an impact early in Mars' history. There is some evidence pointing to it having held an ocean long ago.

China succeeds in landing its robot on March in turn

 China succeeds in landing its robot on March in turn © USGS The Planet Mars photographed by the Viking probe in 1980. The whole process was surrounded by a thick secret, until the day planned for the 'landing. But the little Chinese remote robot, Zhurong, has reached the surface of March on the night from Friday to Saturday. A first for the Asian giant.

Remote sensing by satellites indicates there are significant stores of ice at depth.

a close up of a motorcycle: The front view from Zhurong shows the flat landscape of Utopia Planitia © CNSA The front view from Zhurong shows the flat landscape of Utopia Planitia

Utopia Planitia is where Nasa landed its Viking-2 mission in 1976. The US landed the much larger (one-tonne) Perseverance robot in February, and its mission is still in progress.

Europe's space agency, which has twice failed with landing attempts, will send a rover called Rosalind Franklin to Mars next year in a joint project with Russia.

China’s Mars rover takes first drive on surface of the red planet .
Zhurong, China’s first Mars rover, has left its landing capsule and is now exploring the red planet’s surface.Zhurong, named after a mythical Chinese god of fire, drove down to the surface of Mars at 10:40am Beijing time (02:40 GMT), according to the rover’s official Chinese social media account.

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