Zhurong: China’s first Mars rover

China has named its first Mars rover as Zhurong after a traditional fire god. The name signifies igniting the flame of Planetary Explorations of China.

About Zhurong

  • Zhurong is on board Tianwen-1 Space probe.
  • It arrived at the Mars orbit in February 2021 and is due to land on the planet in May 2021.
  • With Zhurong, China will become the third country after Soviet Union and USA to achieve soft landing on Mars. Also, it will become the second country put a rover on Mars after the US.
  • Zhurong weighs 240 kilograms and is solar powered.
  • Zhurong carries multispectral cameras and instruments to analyse the composition of the rocks. It will investigate subsurface characteristics with ground penetrating radar.

Tianwen-1

  • The main aim of Tianwen-1 is to analyse and map the Martian surface and look for water ice and study the climate and surface environment.
  • It was launched in July 2020.
  • Tianwen-1 was launched with an orbiter, camera, lander and the Zhurong rover.
  • It weighs five tonnes and is one of the heaviest probes launched to Mars.
  • It was launched in Long March 5 heavy lift launch vehicle.
  • It was the second of the three space missions sent to Mars in 2020. The other missions launched were as follows:
    • The “Hope Orbiter” by United Ara Emirates
    • Perseverance Rover and Ingenuity helicopter on Mars 2020 by US

Recent Developments

China recently became the first country to land a space probe on the little explored far side of the moon. It returned to the earth in December with lunar rocks for the first time since 1970s.

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