This May, China accomplished a huge milestone for their Space program (the China National Space Administration, or CNSA for short) by landing a six-wheeled, solar-powered rover on Mars.
Now a couple of months later, their rover—named Zhurong—has sent back lots of interesting data for the scientists back on Earth to study. The CNSA has even published a new video of Zhurong exploring the planet's surface.
Check it out!
What’s going on?
Are those eerie noises the sounds of our Martian neighbours? Well, no. It’s actually just the sound of Zhurong rolling down the ramp of its lander vehicle on to the ground. Still exciting though!
From there, we can see in the video Zhurong navigating around the lander and doing a bit of exploring on the surface on the planet. The videos and photos are taken by a wi-fi camera dropped near the landing site, that Zhurong then had to back up and turn around so we could get a good view of the rover and lander.
So much Mars to discover
Since landing on the red planet, the Zhurong has covered 236 metres (775 feet) on the surface. The rover is almost halfway through its 90-day mission, but has the potential to stick around on the planet for years to come. For its mission, Zhurong is meant to be analyzing the chemical make-up of Martian soil and look for signs of water on the Utopia Planitia region where it landed.
The CNSA is hoping that the rover will provide valuable insights about the planet, helping to unlock new mysteries that Mars has to offer.
Between Zhurong’s mission, NASA’s new Artemis program for the Moon, and the rapid growth of SpaceX, it certainly looks like we’re heading into a new era of the space race!