Zhurong is expected to search for about 90 days. It remains to be seen if the Chinese actually find evidence of life on the Red Planet. Through its Mars voyage, landing, and research, China mainly wants to show the world its larger space ambitions. In the coming years, the country wants to launch a manned mission to the moon and also has its own space station – called Tiangong which means “heavenly palace” – become a reality.
In addition to Zhurong, the Perseverance and Curiosity explorers of the US space agency NASA, which has been operating for years, are currently conducting research on Mars. Last month, the Americans conducted test flights with a 1.8-kilogram helicopter called Ingenuity. After a few successful flights, Perseverance sent not only images from Mars to Earth, but also sounds.
As Ingenuity charts the terrain around persistence over the next month, a NASA explorer, like its Chinese counterpart, will be looking for traces of life on Mars. To this end, the rover will take soil samples and place them neatly next to each other on the planet’s surface. The intent is for NASA, along with the European Space Agency, to send a rocket and rover to Mars around 2028 to collect soil samples.
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