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China releases photos of its Mars rover on surface of the red planet

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The Zurong rover, named after the god of fire in Chinese mythology, landed in the Utopia Planitia region of Mars on May 15. This is China’s first Mars mission – only the second country to land a rover on the planet. United States of america.

The rover sent its first images of Mars back in May, several days after landing, showing a deployed ramp and flat landscape where it had arrived.
According to state-run Xinhua news agency, this Friday’s new images included a 360-degree panorama of the landing area, stitched together from multiple images taken after the rover landed. Another image shows the orange Martian surface, with scattered rocks, a circular crater on the far side and mounds in the distance.

The third picture shows the Chinese flag near the landing platform. The rover also took a selfie using a wireless camera that showed its extended solar panel and a small Chinese flag on its instruments.

The six-wheeled solar-powered rover is intended to last for three months, during which it will search for signs or evidence of ancient life on the surface of Mars. While the rover is exploring the planet, its orbiter is also conducting scientific exploration operations.

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“China will publish relevant scientific data in a timely manner so that mankind can share in the fruits of the country’s space exploration development,” Zhang Kejian, head of China’s National Space Agency, said in the Xinhua report.

China’s Mars mission was successful in entering the planet’s orbit and landing a rover that can cross the surface of Mars in one go. Between 1971 and 1997, it took NASA several missions to complete those challenging steps, decades before China.
China released the first pictures taken by its Mars rover

China launched its Tianwen-1 probe last July carrying the Zurong and other instruments along with two other international Mars missions: NASA’s Perseverance rover and the United Arab Emirates’ Hope probe.

All three missions launched around the same time due to the alignment between Mars and Earth on the same side of the Sun, allowing a more efficient visit to the Red Planet.

While the Zurong isn’t as technologically advanced as NASA’s Perseverance, which is currently also hovering over Mars, its presence sends a clear signal that China’s space capabilities are catching up with the US.

Chinese astronauts have long been held off the International Space Station – and one of the country’s ambitions is to build its own space station. In April, it moved a step closer to that goal, successfully launching the first module of the planned facility.

The core module is currently the largest spacecraft developed by China. But the station would need to be assembled from multiple modules launching at different times; According to Chinese state media, the station could be fully operational by the end of 2022.

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