China’s first Mars rover named Zhurong drove on the surface of Mars for the first time on Saturday, as announced by China’s space administration. With this event, China became the second country to land a rover and operate on the surface of the Red planet after United States.
Chinese National Space Administration said that the rover reached the surface of Mars and drove for the first time at 10:30 AM Beijing Time on Saturday.
The Zhurong rover is a six-wheel solar powered rover, weighing around 240kgs, which landed on Mars on 15th May. Named after the Chinese god of fire- Zhurorg, the rover has been deployed on Mars for 90 days/ three months searching for signs and evidence of life on the planet.
The news was announced by the official Twitter handle of Chinese Zhurong Mars Rover. The tweet read, “Now I’m “literally” on Mars surface. At UTC 2:40, May 22, #Zhurong (#Tianwen1) Mars Rover drove down to the surface of the red planet from the lander. Here’s the process captured by both front and rear cameras. First batch of scientific data will be obtained later this month.”
Along with this post, the official handle of the rover also shared an image of positioning of the of the rover. It tweeted, “The status is also confirmed by the tele radio signal. Here is the data-driven real time rendered picture showing the relative positions of #Zhurong rover and the lander stage.”
The status is also confirmed by the tele radio signal. Here is the data-driven real time rendered picture showing the relative positions of #Zhurong rover and the lander stage. pic.twitter.com/tdblVRUoeB
— Chinese Zhurong Mars Rover (@MarsZhurong) May 22, 2021
The rover’s official account on Weibo also shared the news stating that Zhurong is ready to “patrol and explore”.
According to the reports, the rover will now begin with exploration tasks “in Utopia Planitia with six science payloads, including optical and multispectral cameras and ground-penetrating radar.”
The data from the rover will be relayed to Earth by China’s Tianwen-1 orbiter. Last week, the Chinese space agency released the first pictures taken by the rover.