China beams back images of its Zhurong Rover navigating the rocky surface of Mars

·1 min read
 (China National Space Administrat)
(China National Space Administrat)

New images of China’s rover have been beamed back to Earth from the dusty, red surface of Mars.

The Zhurong lander is helping the six-wheeled rover search an area known as Utopia Planitia for signs of water of and ice that could point to whether signs of life had ever existed on the red planet.

The four pictures, released by the China National Space Administration, also show the upper stage of the Zhurong rover and the view from the rover before it rolled off its platform.

 (China National Space Administrat)
(China National Space Administrat)

China landed the rover on Mars last month making it the second country to land and operate a spacecraft on the planet, after the United States.

Chinese scientists hope to get at least 90 Martian days of service out of the 240kg Zhurong rover as it investigates the mineralogy of rocks and the environment, including the weather.

Zhurong has a laser tool to zap rocks to examine their chemical reaction and radar to look for sub-surface water-ice.

 (China National Space Administrat)
(China National Space Administrat)

In addition to the Mars mission, China’s ambitious space program plans to send the first crew to its new space station next week.

The three crew members plan to stay for three months on the Tianhe, or Heavenly Harmony, station, far exceeding the length of any previous Chinese mission.

They will perform spacewalks, construction and maintenance work and carry out science experiments.

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