The first astromobile taken by China to Mars today began to explore the surface of the red planet a week after the probe in which it was traveling landed on it, the authorities of the Asian country.
According to the National Space Administration of China (ANEC), the vehicle began to roll on the Martian surface around 10:40 a.m. Beijing time (02:40 GMT) today.
The local press highlights that the milestone means that China has become the second country to land and operate a rover on the fourth planet in the Solar System, after the United States, which has already carried five.
The vehicle, named Zhurong after the god of fire in ancient Chinese mythology, has six wheels, weighs about 240 kilos and is powered by solar energy.
Its mission is expected to last at least 90 Martian days (about three Earth months), during which time it will retransmit -through a probe located in the orbit of the planet- high-resolution three-dimensional images, analyze the composition of the surface. and it will look for traces of frozen water, among other tasks.
The rover has a maximum speed of about 200 meters per hour and can overcome obstacles of up to 30 centimeters, as well as climb slopes of up to 20 degrees.
The Zhurong is part of the Chinese Tianwen-1 mission, which was sent into space in July 2020 and whose landing probe reached the planet’s surface on May 15, in the southern part of the so-called Utopia Planitia, a plain located in the northern hemisphere of Mars.
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