China’s rover sends back first images after making historic landing on Mars

The Zhurong rover has descended from its lander and is ready to explore

China's Zhurong rover has sent back its first images, after landing on Mars last week. Courtesy: China National Space Administration 
China's Zhurong rover has sent back its first images, after landing on Mars last week. Courtesy: China National Space Administration 

A Chinese rover has sent back its first images, after making a historic landing on Mars last week.

The Zhurong rover – named after a God of fire in Chinese mythology – has descended from its landing platform to explore.

On May 15, China became only the second nation to land on the Red Planet, when the rover parachuted down to the surface of Mars.

Two new images released by the Chinese space authorities show the six-wheeled rover on the surface of the planet, resting on the Utopia Planitia plain.

This is the largest impact crater in the Solar System, with a diameter of 3,300 kilometre.

The Zhurong rover descends from its landing platform to the Martian surface. Courtesy: China National Space Administration 
The Zhurong rover descends from its landing platform to the Martian surface. Courtesy: China National Space Administration 

This landing spot was chosen because the impact basin is believed to contain underground ice, which could help in the search for signs of ancient life.

Zhurong was carried to Mars aboard the Tianwen-1 spacecraft, which has been orbiting around Mars since February 10.

The orbiter is studying the atmosphere of the planet, while the rover will spend three months studying the planet’s surface composition.

The UAE Space Agency and Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre congratulated China on the successful landing.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, had also congratulated China when Tianwen-1 reached Mars orbit in February.

Its entry into the Martian atmosphere was made less than 24 hours after the UAE’s Hope probe reached the planet.

Emirati scientists have received more than 1,000 images from the spacecraft so far, including scientific images that measure the gases present in the atmosphere.

The first set of data will be released to the public in October.

The UAE's mission to Mars – in pictures

Updated: May 19, 2021 07:12 PM

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