Zhurong Rover Rolls Onto Martian Floor for First Time

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Mars is getting busy, with NASA’s Perseverance and Curiosity rovers and InSight landers being joined by a brand new explorer: China’s Zhurong rover. Arriving final week and lately sending again its first photographs from the purple planet, Zhurong has now rolled onto the martian floor for the primary time.

The view from the Zhurong rover because it deploys from its lander. CNSA

The rover made it by the grueling entry, descent, and touchdown section by which the lander has to move by the skinny Martian ambiance and sluggish itself sufficient to the touch down gently on the floor. Nonetheless hooked up to its lander, the rover instantly started gathering telemetry knowledge. With every thing wanting good, the rover rolled down a ramp off the lander and onto the Martian soil.

In line with the China Nationwide House Administration (CNSA), Zhurong touched the planet’s floor at 10:40 a.m. Beijing Time on Saturday, Might 22 (10:40 p.m. ET on Friday, Might 21).

This makes China the second county to efficiently function a rover on Mars, together with the U.S. Zhurong will now discover the Utopia Planitia area in its three-month mission, looking for indications of water ice and analyzing the chemical composition of the floor.

Zhurong additionally has a characteristic no different rover has had earlier than, when it comes to its suspension. “It’s the first Mars rover with an lively suspension system,” China’s state information company Xinhua writes. “It may assist the rover get out of hassle by transferring like an inchworm on the sophisticated Martian floor with each free sandy soil and densely distributed rocks, mentioned Jia Yang, deputy chief designer of the Tianwen-1 probe, from the China Academy of House Know-how.”

The rover, which is called after a conventional Chinese language fireplace god, weighs 240 kilograms (529 kilos) and is smaller and lighter than NASA’s Perseverance rover. There are some key variations as effectively: Zhurong is solar-powered, with photo voltaic panels on its prime which unfold out like butterfly wings, whereas Perseverance is nuclear powered utilizing a radioisotope energy system. As the daylight on Mars is weaker than on Earth, Zhurong can flip its photo voltaic panels to face the solar because it strikes to maximise the quantity of power it could actually accumulate.

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