Recently, China has made history by being the second country to land its rover Zhurong on Mars. The Chinese news agency, Xinhua, quoted the China National Space Administration confirming the touchdown of Zhurong. Zhurong is a six-wheeler solar-powered rover that weighs about 240 kilograms (529 pounds). It is named after a god of fire in Chinese mythology. It landed on Saturday morning in Utopia Planitia in the northern hemisphere Of Mars. Utopia Planitia is the largest basin on Mars. It has the largest crater known in the Solar system.
This rover is a part of Tianwen-1, a probe that entered the orbit around Mars in February. The probe carried the rover in July last year, making a major milestone in China’s space program. The rover has been actively orbiting around Mars in search of the present and past life on this planet. It will perform the chemical analysis of the soil to find out any kind of signs of life on Mars.
The landing of this rover has been so complicated that it has been dubbed as the “seven minutes of terror” due to the speed at which the radio signals limit the communication from Earth to Mars. The Soviet Union was the first one to land its spacecraft Mars 3 on Mars in 1971. However, it stopped transmitting signals after 110 seconds. The USA had landed a small robotic helicopter that flew on another planet.
NASA, a space agency in the US, had successfully landed its rover named Perseverance in February of this year. Despite China’s victory, it still has a long way to go when compared with countries like the USA and Russia who have decades of experience in space exploration.
Last month, China launched its new space station with the hope that it will be fully established and send its recruits to the moon by 2022.
China disintegrated its Chinese Long March 5B rocket last week over the Indian Ocean with a haphazard landing on Earth. Due to which it drew a lot of backlash from the US for mismanagement in the landing process. It also said that the remnants of the rocket could pose a threat to life and property.