With the “wings” of solar panels outstretched and two camera “eyes” pointing forward, the Chinese Martian rover Zhurong struck a bird-like pose as it explored the Red Planet in photos released Friday by the country’s space agency.
Zhurong’s May landing was the first successful landing of a probe by a country on its first mission to Mars – a milestone in China’s rise to space superpower status.
The rover, named after a mythical Chinese fire god, surveys the topography of a vast Martian lava plain known as Utopia Planitia.
Photos released by China’s National Space Administration showed traces in the red soil left by Zhurong, which the agency described as “China’s footprint,” after rolling across the planet’s surface for a long time. landing platform adorned with a large Chinese flag.
The six-wheeled, solar-powered Zhurong weighing 240 kilograms (530 pounds) is expected to spend three months taking photos, collecting geographic data and collecting rock samples.
# photo1 The space agency said on Friday that the “engineering tasks of the Mars mission have gone smoothly as planned” and the equipment is currently “in good condition”.
China has now sent astronauts into space, propelled probes to the moon and landed a rover on Mars – one of the competition’s most prestigious awards for space domination.
The United States and Russia are the only other countries to have reached Mars, and only the former has operated a surface rover.
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 joint Russian-European spacecraft Schiaparelli.
The latest successful arrival came in February, when US space agency NASA landed its Perseverance rover, which is exploring from the planet.
© 2021 AFP