China’s space agency CNSA released images of its rover “Zhurong” on the surface of Mars on Friday. The photos show the dusty environment of the rover and its landing pad, both carrying small Chinese flags on their outer hull. The probe “Tianwen-1” brought the rover to the Red Planet a month ago.
Rover searches for life on Mars
Zurong announced that he placed a remote-controlled camera about ten meters from the landing platform and then pulled out to take a group photo. The outlines of the mascots for the Winter Olympics and the 2022 Paralympic Games in Beijing can also be seen on the landing pad.
The six-wheeled rover is examining an area known as Utopia Planitia, looking primarily for signs of water or ice that could reveal whether there is life on Mars. After the United States, China is the second country to operate a spacecraft on Mars. At a height of 1.85 meters, “Zhurong” is much smaller than the American rover “Perseverance”, which is exploring the planet with a small helicopter. NASA expects its rover to collect its first sample in July and return to Earth in 2031.