Photos show Chinese rover on dusty, rocky Martian surface

Beijing

The dusty, rocky Martian surface and a Chinese rover and lander bearing small national flags were seen in photos released Friday that the rover took on the red planet.

The four pictures released by the China National Space Administration also show the upper stage of the Zhurong rover and the view from the rover before it rolled off its platform.

Zhurong placed a remote camera about 10 meters (33 feet) from the landing platform, then withdrew to take a group portrait, the CNSA said.

China landed the Tianwen-1 spacecraft carrying the rover on Mars last month after it spent about three months orbiting the red planet. China is the second country to land and operate a spacecraft on Mars, after the United States.

The orbiter and lander both display small Chinese flags and the lander has outlines of the mascots for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympics.

The six-wheeled rover is surveying an area known as Utopia Planitia, especially searching for signs of water or ice that could lend clues as to whether Mars ever sustained life.

At 1.85 metres (6 feet) in height, Zhurong is significantly smaller than the US's Perseverance rover which is exploring the planet with a tiny helicopter. NASA expects its rover to collect its first sample in July for return to Earth as early as 2031.

China launches 4 satellites

China on Friday successfully sent four satellites into planned orbits that will be used for ecological environment monitoring, asteroid resource exploration, disaster prevention and mitigation among others.

The satellites were launched by a Long March-2D rocket from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre in northern Shanxi Province at 11:03 am local time, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

Among them was the Beijing-3 satellite, a commercial remote sensing satellite developed by China Spacesat Co Ltd. It is used mainly for resource investigation, ecological environment monitoring, urban management, and disaster prevention and mitigation, the CGTN news channel reported.

The other three satellites will be used in researching marine ecological environment observation, asteroid resource exploration, and in-orbit service teaching and training, it said.

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Free Press Journal

www.freepressjournal.in