China Landed Rover on Mars
At the Center for Space Control in Beijing, there was big jubilation when China made a successful landing on Mars early on Saturday.
The landing has taken place blindly for them down to the surface of the planet. The rover is programmed to make the landing on its own.
The reason is that the radio signals take as much as up to 20 minutes to travel to earth. Only nine minutes after the rover landed, did the crew down on the ground find out. At Nasa, the interval is called “nine minutes of terror”.
But then the successful landing became a fact. The state news agency Xinhua was able to report it a little before 3 o’clock on Saturday.
The battle for space
The rover is named Zhurong, after the mythical god of fire and war. It landed on the vast plain of Utopia Planitia, in the southern part of the planet.
Chinese President Xi Jinping congratulated the Chinese achievement and the scientists with special address.
Prior to this, only the United States and the former Soviet Union had clearly made successful landings on the red planet.
The Soviet Union landed its rover in 1971, but it stopped sending signals back to Earth shortly after. In 1976, the United States landed for the first time with Viking 2.
Earlier US Nasa also has landed rover Curiosity. Zhurong is thus the third operational rover on Mars right now.
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