The state news agency Xinhua reported that China landed a spacecraft on Mars for the first time. Astro One (“Finding the Truth in the Sky”) landed at 1.45 am Dutch time. This makes China the second country after the United States to make a soft landing on this red planet.
The spacecraft also carried a cart. The Zhurong Ranger is much smaller in curiosity and perseverance than the American marching car, and its size is comparable to the old American Rover Opportunity and Spirit. Zhu Rong, meaning the fire of the gods, should be able to find traces of life and explore the bottom of the red planet.
Astro One reached Mars a few months ago, and has been revolving around the Earth in an elliptical orbit since then. The spacecraft took photos of the planned landing site called “Utopia-Planitia,” which used to be an ocean.
Challenge to China
Landing is a challenge for China. So far, China has successfully landed the lander several times. So far, only NASA has successfully completed a soft landing on Mars.
The fall time is 9 minutes. Since Mars is close to 200 million kilometers away from us, the flight control system can only wait to see if the fully automatic landing process with heat shield and parachute goes well. The signal from Mars takes 18 minutes to reach the earth.