The July 2020 launch of the Tianwen-1 Mars probe with the Zhurong rover marks a major milestone in the space program
The Mars probe and rover are expected to spend about three months photographing, collecting geographic data, and collecting and analyzing rock samples.
Zhurong six-wheel motor powered bysolar energy, weighing 240 kg, is named after the Chinese mythical god of fire. Now China has sent astronauts into space, launched probes to the moon and landed a rover on Mars.
United States and Russia are the only otherscountries that reached Mars, but only the first used the rover on the surface. Several attempts by the United States, Russia and Europe to land rovers on Mars have failed in the past, the most recent in 2016, when the joint Russian-European spacecraft Schiaparelli crash landed.
The last successful arrival happened in February,when the US space agency NASA landed its Perseverance rover, which has been exploring the planet ever since. The American rover launched a small robotic helicopter to Mars, marking the first ever flight to another planet.
China has come a long way in the race to catch upThe United States 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, hoping it will be manned by 2022 and eventually send humans to the moon. Prior to that, part of the Chinese Long March 5B rocket disintegrated over the Indian Ocean as a result of an uncontrolled landing on Earth.
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