To make a good landing, the scout had to go through the “seven minutes of agony.” The drop through the atmosphere of Mars is considered treacherous and has proved a bridge too far for a number of missions. China’s space agency confirmed that the landing was a success and President Xi Jinping congratulated all involved.
China is the third country to have controlled a ‘rover’ landing on Mars. Previously, only the Soviet Union and the United States succeeded. State television paid attention to that historic event in the program ‘Nihao Mars’ (‘Hello Mars’).
The Chinese named the six-wheeled Mars rover after a mythical fire god. The cart flew to Mars aboard the space probe Tianwen-1 (Celestial Questions-1). It was launched in July. The craft arrived at planet in February after a difficult crossing of 470 million kilometers in about 200 days.
The trolley with scientific instruments has been brought to the surface of the planet with a landing capsule. That aircraft used a parachute and thrusters to slow down during the landing. It initially hung about 100 meters above the ground to find a good spot.
China wants to use the Zhurong to find traces of life and map the surface and soil of Mars. The scout can move across the planet’s surface at a speed of about 200 meters per hour and is powered by solar energy.
The Mars mission is not China’s only ambitious space project. That also started at the end of April with the construction of a space station near Earth.
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