New Delhi: An uncrewed Chinese spacecraft carrying the country’s first Mars rover landed on the surface of Mars on Saturday (May 15, 2021) as per reports by the China National Space Administration (CNSA).
This touchdown makes China the second space-faring nation after the United States to land on the Red Planet.
This uncrewed Chinese spacecraft known as, Tianwen-1, was launched on July 23, 2020 and carried an orbiter, a lander and a rover to Mars.
The Tianwen-1 spacecraft landed on a site on a vast plain known as Utopia Planitia, “leaving a Chinese footprint on Mars for the first time,” state news agency Xinhua said.
As per the China National Space Administration, Tianwen-1 left its parked orbit at 1700 GMT on Friday and entered the Martian atmosphere three hours later. The chinese media reported the landing process as the “nine minutes of terror”.
Tianwen-1 also contains a solar powered rover, named Zhurong, which weighs around 240 kilograms, has high-resolution topography camera, six wheels and can move upto 200 metres per hour.
The Zhurong rover will study the planet’s surface soil and atmosphere, while looking for the signs of ancient life using a ground-penetrating radar.
If Zhurong is successfully deployed, China would become the first country to orbit, land and release a rover in its maiden mission to Mars.