After a number of months orbiting Mars, a Chinese rover effectively touched down on the Martian surface area Friday, making China the 2nd country, after the United States, to accomplish a soft landing on the red world.
The rover, called Zhurong after the Chinese god of fire, belongs to China’s Tianwen-1 objective, which introduced in July 2020. The landing is a significant turning point for China’s area firm, which has actually advanced quickly in simply a couple of years.
Few information about the Tianwen-1 objective have actually been revealed, however the Mars probe and its accompanying rover are created to map the Martian surface area and look for indications of life in the world.
The China National Space Administration stated in a declaration Friday that the Tianwen-1 spacecraft “has functioned normally” given that it’s launch in 2015 and has actually gathered a “huge amount of scientific data.”
The Zhurong rover landed Friday quickly after 7 p.m. ET in an area of Mars called Utopia Planitia. The large, icy plain was likewise where NASA’s now-defunct Viking 2 lander touched down in 1976.
Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, praised China’s area firm quickly after the landing was validated. “Together with the global science community, I look forward to the important contributions this mission will make to humanity’s understanding of the Red Planet,” he wrote on Twitter.
China’s Tianwen-1 objective is an essential part of the nation’s lofty aspirations for area expedition. In December 2020, a Chinese probe arrived at the moon and consequently went back to Earth with a cache of lunar samples. As an outcome, China ended up being just the 3rd nation, after the U.S. and the previous Soviet Union, to achieve such a task.
In late April, China introduced into orbit the very first module for an organized spaceport station. Rocket particles from that launch later on fell back to Earth, crashing into the Indian Ocean and drawing criticism from NASA Administrator Bill Nelson and others over China’s handling of the event.
This year has actually been one for Mars objectives. In addition to China’s Zhurong rover, the red world is playing host to a number of other brand-new spacecraft. NASA’s Perseverance rover effectively touched down on the Martian surface area on Feb. 18 and formally started gathering science information today. Previously, the rover functioned as an interactions base for a small speculative helicopter, called Ingenuity, which carried out the very first powered, managed flights on another world.
In February, the United Arab Emirates’ Hope probe likewise participated in orbit around Mars, making the UAE just the 5th country or entity to do so. The spacecraft is created to circle Mars and study the red world’s environment.