According to the official Chinese News Agency, the Chinese robot “Zorong” left its landing platform on Mars on Saturday, a week after its arrival, to start exploring the surface of the Red Planet.
The process of sending this robot to Mars is a precedent for the Asian country, which has become the second in the world to succeed in such an operation after the United States.
In July 2020, China launched from Earth its unmanned mission “Tianwen-1”, which was named after the probe that was sent into space and consists of an orbiter (orbiting Mars) and a lander on board “Zhurong On”, which landed last Saturday in the area . The red planet is called Utopia Planetia, and it is a vast plain in the northern hemisphere of Mars.
Zorong, who weighed about 240 kg, sent his first pictures on Wednesday, bearing the name of the god of fire in Chinese mythology. He should also perform soil and atmosphere analyzes and mapping the red planet.
“Zhurong” is equipped with solar panels to power it and it is supposed to work for three months.
The rover is also equipped with cameras, radar and lasers which will allow it in particular to study its environment and analyze the composition of Mars rocks. The mission to Mars should also search for potential signs of a past life.
By running its robot on Mars, China, which is investing billions of euros in its space program to catch up with Europe, Russia and the United States, is proving its increasingly ambitious space ambitions.
It sent its first astronaut into space in 2003 and launched satellites for itself or on behalf of other countries.
In 2019, it landed with a device on the far side of the Moon – for the first time in the world. Last year, the samples were brought back to Earth.
The Asian giant plans to assemble a large space station by 2022 and hopes to send men to the moon within ten years. The first of the three elements launched its space station in late April.
China was widely criticized by the United States and many experts for its potentially serious violation of space rules, during the uncontrolled return to Earth in early May of a major component of the Long March 5B missile that put this unit into orbit. According to the Chinese Space Agency, one part eventually disintegrated over the Indian Ocean and most of it was destroyed upon entering the atmosphere.
In 2020, another debris from a long march shattered villages in Côte d’Ivoire, causing damage, but no injuries.