The Chinese rover Zhurong has completed its maiden flight on Mars.
Pictures of her were posted on the rover’s social media account. The remote-controlled vehicle moved down the ramp of the loading capsule and rolled onto the surface of Mars. The rover weighs 240 kg and is powered by solar energy. A week ago, he landed on Mars with the landing craft of the “Tianwen-1” spaceship. In particular, it examines the soil and atmosphere of the planet for possible traces of water and past life.
This is a huge success for the Chinese space program, because no country has previously been able to land a spacecraft on its first mission to Mars and let it launch. A video clip shows how it works.
Zhurong is named after the Chinese god of fire and is said to have been exploring Mars for at least three months. Congratulations have already come from the US probe and NASA. The two rovers will never meet on the surface of Mars, they are more than 2000 km apart – Zhurong in the Utopia Planitia lowlands and perseverance in Jezero Crater. Additionally, NASA’s Curiosity spacecraft has also been on the surface of Mars since 2012. But it is still far away in Gale Crater.
This message was broadcast on May 25, 2021 on Deutschlandfunk Nova.