China rover sends back first images from surface of Mars

The Zhurong is expected to spend about three months on the planet to study its surface soil and atmosphere.

An image taken on Mars by the Zhurong rover of China's Tianwen-1 mission [China National Space Administration via Reuters]

Solar panels against an alien landscape, ramps and rods pointing at the horizon of Mars – China’s Zhurong rover has sent back its first photographs of the Red Planet after its history-making landing over the weekend.

The rover was carried to Mars on the uncrewed spacecraft Tianwen-1 on Saturday, in the first successful probe landing by any country on its first mission to the planet.

It will study the planet’s surface soil and atmosphere and look for signs of ancient life.

The China National Space Administration on Wednesday published the images taken by cameras attached to the rover, which showed the obstacle-avoidance equipment and solar panels on the vehicle, as well as the texture of the planet’s surface.

An image taken on Mars showing the planet’s surface by the Chinese rover Zhurong [China National Space Administration via Reuters]

“People of the internet, the Mars images you’ve been longing for are here,” the space agency said in a social media post sharing the images.

Zhurong, named after a mythical Chinese fire god, arrived a few months after the United States’s latest probe to Mars – Perseverance – and has been celebrated in China as a milestone in its ascent to space superpower status.

It is expected to spend about three months on the planet taking photos and harvesting geographical data.

China has come a long way in its race to catch up with the US and Russia, whose astronauts and cosmonauts have decades of experience in space exploration.

It successfully launched the first module of its new space station last month.

A screen broadcasts a CCTV state media news bulletin, showing an image of Mars taken by the Zhurong rover [Thomas Peter/Reuters]
Source: News Agencies