China has put its first rover on Mars. After the United States and the Soviet Union, it is the third country to achieve this.
The first Chinese Mars spacecraft, Zhurong, has been orbiting Mars aboard the Tianwen-1 spacecraft since February. Last Saturday morning, it reached the red planet shortly after midnight. The Chinese space agency has yet to announce exactly when this happened. Since then, Macau University of Technology has announced the rover site, just 40 kilometers from its intended target. This is very cool for a Mars landing.
Tianwen-1 is China’s second mission to another planet, but the first that the country undertakes on its own. The other, Phobos-Grunt, was a collaboration with Russia. Because its missiles were not operational, that vehicle did not exceed its orbit in 2011. It crashed in the Pacific Ocean.
With Zhurong, China is the third country to drop a rover on Mars. The United States recently delivered a new rover called Perseverance. It is the fifth thief in the country. The Soviet Union put a rover on the surface in 1971, but it lost contact with Earth after less than two minutes.
In recent months, Tianwen-1 has been taking photos of the Zhurong landing site to ensure it is suitable Landing. Zhurong descended into the Utopia Planitia, a massive crater where NASA’s Viking 2 lander crashed in 1976.
The Zhurong rover was hidden in a landing craft protecting it. The pair is equipped with a heat shield, parachutes and a set of small thrusters. After a while, the probe will extend a ramp over which Zhurong will come out.
Zhurong measures about 1.8 meters long and weighs 240 kilograms. This is slightly larger than the Spirit and Opportunity rover that NASA crashes, but it is much smaller than the current Curiosity rover and tenacity. It’s powered by solar panels, which are expected to power it for 90 Mars days (about 93 Earth days).
The rover will study the geological makeup of Mars. It looks at the composition of soil and basic layers of rock and ice. It also analyzes magnetic field and climate.
To do this, Zhurong is equipped with cameras, radar, magnetic field detector, weather station and instrument for determining the chemical composition of dust and rocks.
The Tianwen-1 spacecraft carries its own set of scientific instruments to study Mars from its orbit. In addition, Tianwen 1 will send data from the probe to Earth.