China’s National Space Administration said on Saturday afternoon that the rover reached the surface at 10:40 a.m.
Zhurong reaches the surface of Mars. Image via National Space Administration
Watch below for a short black and white clip of the rover exiting the platform and reaching the surface (VPN disabled):
As part of this mission, Zhurong is responsible for studying the surface, landforms, rocks and atmosphere of the planet. The 240-kilogram robot will look for signs of life as well as water or ice beneath the surface.
The exploration of Zhurong on the surface of Mars is the final chapter of the Tianwen-1 mission, which China Daily described as “the most sophisticated space adventure ever attempted”. According to the state newspaper, China is the first country to send an orbiter, lander and rover to Mars in the same expedition.
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Named after an ancient Chinese fire god, Zhurong landed on Mars on May 15 and spent a week sensing ground conditions around the landing site.
According to the BBC, the rover will explore Utopia Planitia in the northern hemisphere of the planet. There is evidence that an ocean existed in the Colossal Basin a long time ago.
The United States landed a rover, named Perseverance, on Mars in February. The six-wheeled, one-ton vehicle will spend two years in a deep crater near the equator of Mars drilling through rocks and searching for evidence of past life.
Le robot Zhurong était à la mode sur Weibo lundi, avec le hashtag «La Chine est le premier pays à terminer une orbite de Mars en une seule fois» (# China is the first step for UL 落巡的国的#) .
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[Cover image via 国家航天局]