Mars is the focus of attention of countries such as the United States, China and the United Arab Emirates. February was a busy month with the three probes in the sky over Mars. The US Perseverance has landed by helicopter, the Chinese probe will land in May and the UAE’s Hope remains in orbit. The United States has more than one rover stationed on Mars. They perform specific, pre-programmed tasks using artificial intelligence, robotics and renewable energy. They are essential for missions to the moon, Mars and other planets. China plans to land its first rover on the Red Planet in May.
The Zhurong rover is aboard the Tianwen-1 probe in orbit around Mars. ABC News reports that the rover could land on a foreign surface in May. One of the programmes will be the implementation of activities related to the detection of signs of life. Clearly, China wants to make its presence felt on the Red Planet.
China’s plans include landing a man on the moon
Since 2012, the space agency NASA has been on the move with its rovers on Mars. Curiosity was the first to land there in 2012. He worked 24X7 on the surface. In 2018, another InSight rover landed – its mission was to dig beneath the surface. Three years later, in 2021, it’s the turn of perseverance. He landed in an Ingenuity helicopter. His goal was to photograph Mars from the air.
It is clear that America is working on a long-term plan. China started space activities late. In 2019, he landed a space probe on the far side of the moon. All credit to China for the revolutionary concept of exploring the invisible part of the moon. It then sent moon rocks back to Earth for the first time since the 1970s.
According to ABC News, China’s space plans include launching a manned space station and landing a human on the moon. China wants to build its space station by 2022.
China Rover has much to do
As for Mars, a possible landing site on Mars could be Utopia Planitia. This is rocky terrain. The American Viking 2 lander landed on this spot in 1976.
China was ahead of other powers when its Tianwen-1 probe orbited Mars. ABC News reports that the China National Space Administration (CNSA) has made a brief announcement about the goals of Tianwen-1. This is the first step in exploring the natural resources available on the planet. The Zhurong rover will also search for water ice and conduct climate and environmental studies on the surface. Moreover, if successful, China will be the third country to have a robot on Mars, after the former Soviet Union and the United States. America certainly has more experience in space exploration, but China could also prove itself.
China calls its rover Zhurong
According to Space.com, Zhurong is the name of the Chinese god of fire, and the first Mars rover will bear that name. It will attempt its first landing on the Red Planet in May. The China National Space Administration (CNSA) made the announcement on China Space Day, held on the 24th. April in Nanjing. There were 10 names on the shortlist and the public voted for Zhurong. The lines for voting opened in January. The solar-powered rover weighs about 50 kg. It is part of the Tianwen-1 mission, which was launched in July 2020 and put into orbit around Mars in February. A landing attempt on Utopia Planitia could take place in mid-May. The Tianwen-1 orbiter is collecting high-resolution images of this location.
The Zhuron rover carries equipment for photography and analysis of rock composition.
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