The Chinese unmanned rover Zhurong successfully landed on Mars, making China become the third country in the world to do so. Following the United States, China is the second nation across the globe to land a mobile rover on Mars for surface exploration.
Separating from the Tianwen-1 mission orbiting Mars, China’s red planet rover Zhurong sat down south of the Utopia Planitia region at 8:18 a.m. on Saturday (local time), reported Xinhua. Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory telegram, defining the landing as one of the greatest milestones in China’s interplanetary voyage. He went on to say that China took a leap forward in interplanetary exploration along with its travel from Earth to the moon.
The Zhurong is a six-wheeled mobile robot apparatus – 2.6 meters in width, 3 meters in length, 1.85 meters in height and 240 kilograms in weight – designed to carry out an exploration mission for at least 90 Mars days or 24 hours and 37 minutes in earth days. The rover robot is the first of its kind, which is equipped with a radar system that allows it to explore down to as deep as 100 meters. China hopes to discover traces of water or ice and analyze soil and rock components. China made it to Mars at the second try. Back in 2011, it attempted to explore the red planet in cooperation with Russia but to no avail.
China has recently sped up with its ambitious space programs on Mars and moon explorations, independent space stations, etc., rising as a rival in aerospace to the Unites States. In 2019, China sent the Chang’e-4 to the back side of the moon for the first time in human history. Furthermore, last December, the Chang’e-5 traveled to the moon to collect and bring lunar soil to the Earth.
In the meantime, the United States is only throwing a vigilant glance at China’s growing presence in aerospace travel. When China’s Changzheng-5 on May 9 lost control to fall back down to the Earth with debris scattered across the Indian Ocean, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson issued a critical statement, saying, “It is clear that China is failing to meet responsible standards regarding their space debris.” Behind tensions between the two nations lies a sense of rivalry in dominance in the field of space travel, analyze global media outlets.