Chinese Mars rover made its first orbit on the red planet


China Mars zhurong rover

The artist’s illustration depicts a Chinese Zhurong rover on the surface of Mars. China National Space Administration via AP

China has become the second country to join the United States, driving a rover on Mars.

After successfully landing on the Red Planet on May 15, Zhurong Rover of the National Space Agency of China sat firmly on the landing pad and charged as the solar panels were immersed in the energy from the Sun.

On Saturday, Rover, named after the Chinese mythological god of fire, finally left the lander behind.

At 10:40 am Beijing time, Zhurong rolled down the ramp to the surface of Mars, according to a post on Rover’s social media account. Reuters reported..

China Mars zhurong rover

The photo taken by Zhurong Rover in China shows the ramp of the Tianwen-1 lander and the surface of Mars on May 22, 2021. China National Space Administration via AP

According to Chinese state media Xinhua News AgencyAfter that, Rover completed his first test drive and “left the country’s first” footprint “on the red planet.”

The mission that brought the congratulations to Mars is called Tianwen-1 and means “question to heaven.” It is the first Mars mission to date to send a spacecraft into planetary orbit, drop a landing platform on the surface of Mars, and deploy all rover in one expedition.

Explore volcanic rocks for signs of water ice

Jurong Rover Mars China

The screen broadcasts CCTV breaking news on May 19, 2021 in Beijing, China, showing images of Mars taken by the Chinese Mars rover Congratulations as part of the Tianwen-1 mission. Thomas Peter / Reuters

The Tianwen-1 module carried the congratulations in it to the Utopia Planitia on Mars (a huge plain in the northern hemisphere of the planet).

Ready to roll, Zhurong explores the plains, looking for groundwater ice. It also captures a 3D image of the surface to investigate the chemical composition of Martian soil.

The Utopia Planitia is a vast field of ancient volcanic rock, with large amounts of water ice under its surface. If space agencies like NASA and CNSA someday send humans to Mars, water will be an important resource as it can support astronauts and break down into hydrogen and oxygen for rocket fuel. It is unlikely that a spacecraft to Mars will carry enough water, oxygen, and hydrogen for the entire round-trip itinerary.

China Mars zhurong rover

A photo taken by Zhurong Rover in China, released May 22, 2021, shows the Rover rolling from a lander onto the surface of Mars. China National Space Administration via AP

On Wednesday, China released the first photo of the congratulations from the Red Planet.

The color image below, taken by Rover’s navigation camera, shows the congratulations of sitting on the Tianwen-1 landing ship with the solar panels unfolded.

China Mars Rover Congratulations

A photo showing behind the Jurong Rover in China from the landing site on the Utopia Planitia on Mars after landing on May 15, 2021. China National Space Administration

Rover with active suspension system

Zhurong will be the sixth rover to successfully operate on Mars. Over the last 24 years, NASA has landed and operated five rover. The Soviet Union managed to land the Rover in 1971, but lost contact with the Rover before the mission began.

The congratulations are £ 530, about the same size as the twin Spirit and Opportunity Rover that NASA installed on Mars in 2004.

Zhurong has about 90 days to study the Red Planet. (This is the official mission timeline, but Spirit and Opportunity have the same three-month period, exploring Mars for six and 14 years, respectively.)

Rover in China travels about 656 feet (200 m) per hour and can overcome obstacles that are one foot high. Xinhua reported..

But what makes Zhurong unique is its active suspension system.

NASA’s Rover, including patience, Passive suspension system Called a rocker bogey, it helps the vehicle put the same amount of weight on each of the six wheels. This minimizes how much the rover tilts on rugged terrain.

However, each of the six wheels of Zhurong can be controlled independently, and the active suspension system may adjust the weight on each wheel to help the rover climb steep slopes and obstacles.

“It may help Rover get out of trouble,” Jiayan, deputy chief designer of the Tianwen-1 mission, told Xinhua when he encountered loose sandy soil and dense rocks.

NASA patience

NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS / Seán Doran

With the Tianwen-1 lander and Zhurong Rover reaching Mars, NASA’s Perseverance Rover and Ingenuity helicopter are no longer the latest arrivals on the Red Planet.

Patience landed on Mars three months ago and demonstrated ingenuity on a part of the planet called the Jezero Crater.

Rover in China and the United States is unlikely to cross the road.While both the Utopia Planitia and the Jezero Crater are in the northern hemisphere of Mars, the distance between the two landing points is About 1,000 miles..

Morgan McFall-Johnsen contributed to the report of this story.

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