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China has released images and audio from its rover's first steps on Mars

Jul, 2021

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With the landing of its Tianwen-1 spacecraft on the surface of Mars in May, China became the third nation to do so.

The country's first interplanetary rover, Zhurong, was also on board, and can be seen and heard moving about the Red Planet in recently released recordings.

China's Tianwen-1 mission launched to Mars last July and landed on Utopia Planitia, a plain in the planet's northern hemisphere, after a 10-month voyage. Before rolling down to the dusty surface to begin its adventures, the Zhurong rover stayed atop the lander module for about a week examining its surroundings and verifying its instruments. China's Tianwen-1 mission dispatched to Mars keep going July and arrived on Utopia Planitia, a plain in the planet's northern side of the equator, following a 10-month journey. Prior to moving down to the dusty surface to start its undertakings, the Zhurong meanderer remained on the lander module for about seven days inspecting its environmental factors and checking its instruments. The China National Space Administration's recordings, which were aired by state-funded broadcaster CCTV, shed additional light on the rover's first days on Mars. The begins with the first audio recorded by a Chinese Mars rover, which used an inbuilt recording equipment to capture sounds such as the engine starting, Martian winds, and the robot's machinations as it descended to the surface.

The first visuals of the Zhurong in action can be found in a separate recording, which shows the rover making its initial footprints across the Martian surface. Since then, Zhurong has been operating on Mars' surface for 42 days, travelling a total distance of 236 metres (774 feet). China is now only the second country to have a rover operating on Mars. In 1971, the Soviet Union deployed two rovers to Mars, but they crashed and communications were terminated after only 20 seconds.

The six-wheeled Zhurong rover will examine the Red Planet using cameras, a sub-surface radar, a magnetic field detector, and other scientific instruments. It is estimated that it will live for 90 days. The video below shows it rolling across the surface for the first time.

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