Months after the first image of the red planet, China has finally managed to take its next big step in the Tianwen-1 mission, successfully landing and operating its Zhurong rover on Mars. With this achievement, the CNSA becomes the second international agency, after NASA, to have a functional robot on the planet’s surface.
Announced by the local CGTN and Hinhua media at the end of last week, it is the culmination of a long process carried out by this space agency, with an initial launch that took place in July 2020, and a first contact with the orbit of Mars last February, and the landing of the Zhurong in the so-called Utopia Planitia region of the red planet.
The launched spacecraft was made up of three components: the orbiter, lander and rover, the latter two separating and beginning its descent to the Red Planet on May 14, with a landing process that barely lasted about seven minutes. Meanwhile, the orbiter (as its name suggests) will remain in orbit around Mars to function as a relay for the signals emitted by the rover.
According to the Chinese media, the Zhurong rover will have an expected service life of three months (90 Martian days), although there is a chance that the machine will exceed expectations and continue to operate beyond this time frame. During his days on Mars, the Zhurong will have as main task the study of the surface of the planet, analyzing the soil, the ice of the surface water, the composition of the materials, the geological structure and the “physical field and internal structure” of the planet.
For this, the Zhurong has a set of instruments that include two cameras, a multispectral camera, a magnetometer probe, a wind and sound probe, a temperature and air pressure probe, a surface composition detector and a radar. ground penetration.