China released the first images of its rover Zhurong on the surface of Mars on Wednesday (19).
The photos show the vehicle that is still on the landing module that brought it to the ground of Utopia Planitia on the red planet on the night of the last day 14.
In addition to the unwillingness of the Chinese to publish their space program in real time, the fact that the country has only one satellite as a relay in orbit around Mars contributed to the delay in the images: the very spacecraft Tianwen-1 that took that Zhurong until then.
The orbiter recently performed additional maneuvers to adjust its trajectory and make it easier to capture data packets sent from the surface. And the expectation is that the rover will fall to the ground on the ramp to begin its mission later this week.
Image of the Zhurong access ramp to the Martian floor. (Image credit: CNSA)
Zhurong weighs 240 kg and has six scientific instruments and solar panels to power her. The robotic jeep has to conduct investigations into the mineralogical composition of rocks, examine the subsurface of Mars with radar and search for evidence of past life on Martian soil.
With the successful landing, he made China the second country after the USA to carry out a ground mission on Mars.
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