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China is releasing new images of Mars taken by its rover Zhurong



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

The rover sent its first images to Mars in May, a few days after landing, showing a located ramp and the flat landscape where it arrived.
New photos this Friday included a 360-degree panorama of the landing area, combined with a series of images the rover took after landing before moving through the area, according to the state-run Xinhua news agency. Another image showed the orange Martian surface with scattered rocks, a round crater on the other side, and dunes in the distance.

A third image shows the Chinese flag near the landing site. The rover also took a selfie with a wireless camera, showing its elongated solar panels and a tiny Chinese flag written on its equipment.

The six-wheeled solar-powered rover is designed to last three months, during which it will look for signs or evidence of ancient life on the surface of Mars. As the rover explores the planet, its orbiter also performs scientific detection operations.

“China will publish relevant scientific data in a timely manner to enable humanity to participate in the fruits of space development in the country,”

; Zhang Kejian, head of China’s national space agency, told the Xinhua report.

The Chinese mission to Mars has managed to enter the planet’s orbit and land a rover that can cross the Martian surface in one go. Numerous NASA missions were needed to take these challenging steps, albeit decades before China, between 1971 and 1997.
China releases the first pictures taken by its rover

China launched its Tianwen-1 spacecraft carrying Zhurong and other equipment last July, along with two other international missions to Mars: NASA’s Perseverance rover and the United Arab Emirates’ hope probe.

All three missions started at the same time due to the alignment between Mars and Earth on the same side of the sun, which makes it more efficient to travel to the red planet.

While Jurong is not as technologically advanced as NASA’s “Persistence,” which is also currently orbiting Mars, its presence sends a clear signal that China’s space capabilities are catching up with those of the United States.

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

The main module is currently the largest spacecraft developed by China. But the station will have to be assembled from several modules starting at different times; the station could be fully operational by the end of 2022, according to Chinese state media.


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