China’s Mars Rover Touches The Ground On The Red Planet

BEIJING — China’s Mars rover has powered down from its landing platform and is now roaming the red planet’s surface, according to the Chinese space agency.

The solar-powered rover landed on Martian soil at 10:40 a.m. Beijing time (0240 GMT) on Saturday, according to the China National Space Administration.

Last Saturday, China successfully landed the rover-carrying spacecraft on Mars, a technically demanding task more complex than landing on the moon. After the United States, it is the second country to land and run a spacecraft on Mars.

The rover, named Zhurong after the Chinese god of fire, had been conducting diagnostic tests for several days before beginning its exploration on Saturday. It will be stationed for 90 days in order to look for signs of life.

The Perseverance rover and a small helicopter are part of the United States’ current Mars mission. The rover is expected to gather its first sample in July and return to Earth as early as 2031, according to NASA.

lgnews-China's-Mars-Rover1.jpg2China has grand ambitions in space, including the launch of a crewed orbital station and the landing of a human on the moon. In 2019, China became the first country to land a space rover on the moon’s little-explored far side, and lunar rocks were returned to Earth for the first time since the 1970s in December.

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