China’s national space administration issued a statement in English on Monday confirming the landing, which is part of the Tianwen-1 mission, China’s first attempt to reach the surface of another planet. CNSA Deputy Director Wu Yanhua said state-run China Daily Zhurong would diagnose and move from the landing platform over the next few days, and that his first photos are expected in late May.
CNSA behaves very differently from NASA. When NASA’s Perseverance rover landed in February, space fans were quickly treated with. CNSA usually plays its cards closer to the vest.
While some space fans on social media have expressed concern about the lack of images of Jurong, journalist Andrew Jones, who covers China’s space program for SpaceNews, suggested on Twitter that the delay may be due in part to the fact that this is the first in China rover on the red planet.
There is still no reason to worry about the rover’s health. Communication between Mars and Earth can be difficult and time consuming. The Chinese spacecraft Tianwen-1 is in orbit around the planet and will act as a relay for the rover.
Landing is another feather in China’s space hat, which in recent years has included landing on, returning and start in April.
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While it would be nice to get photos faster, any images that Zhurong sends back from his new home in the great plain of Utopia Planitia will be worth the wait. In the meantime, you can enjoy.
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