The Chinese space probe, Tianwen-1, has landed on Mars. The China National Space Administration (CNSA) reported this. China is the third country to have landed a spacecraft on the red planet. At the heart of the Tianwen-1 mission is the Zhurong spacecraft, which aims to explore the Martian surface.
Earlier, the Soviet Union and the United States also succeeded in landing space probes on the surface of Mars. However, China will become the second country after the United States that can pilot a vehicle on the planet.
God of fire
Zhurong – named after the fire god of the same name in Chinese mythology – was launched last July with the Tianwen-1 space probe. In February, the mission reached Mars after a journey of about 320 million km.
While the probe was orbiting the planet, the Utopia Planetia landing site chosen – a 3,300 km wide crater plain in the northern hemisphere of the planet – was further studied.
From his new base, Zhurong must search for relics that could indicate the presence of water and life. No fewer than ninety days of the march were devoted to this process. A day on Mars is called Sol and it lasts for 24 hours and 39 minutes in total.
Zhurong weighs about 240 kg and is powered by expanded solar panels. The robotic car is also equipped with a camera, which is supposed to take pictures of the planet’s surface and send them back to Earth.
Utopia Planetia is believed to once have housed an ocean. A huge mass of ice could still exist in the environment below the surface. Moreover, the mission should gather information about the formation of local rock formations and the general state of the environment, with additional attention paid to weather and climate conditions.
The United States has already successfully deployed the March Explorer five times. This last time happened in February of this year, when the persistent space probe was reported to land on the planet’s surface.
Closest to Zhurong are the Probes of Tenacity, Viking 2, and Insight. A little further away are the Curiosity and Spirit landing sites. At a greater distance, Opportunity, Pathfinder, Viking 1 and Phoenix tread at the bottom of the planet.
Russia also made an attempt in the early 1970s to explore the surface of Mars with a craft.
However, upon landing, the Russian spacecraft was hit by a sandstorm, which could potentially damage the instruments. As a result, the marched Russian Scouts could not be ordered to be finished.